June 1, 2018 10:33:07 AM
Slim Smith - [email protected]
Local circuit clerks expect low turn-out for Tuesday's primary elections.
Lowndes County Circuit Court has received about 66 absentee ballots cast in advance of Tuesday's primaries for U.S. Senate. Lowndes circuit clerk Teresa Barksdale said low numbers of absentee ballots usually indicate low voter turn-out overall.
"The turn-out is very low," she said. "We're not seeing a lot of people voting absentee, which is always a pretty good judge of voter interest."
The story is the same in Oktibbeha County, said circuit clerk Tony Rook.
"We do anticipate a low turn-out, based on what we're seeing with the absentee ballots," Rook said Thursday. "We've had roughly 150 absentee ballots filed here. We had a busy day (Thursday), so we anticipate we'll have in the neighborhood of 200 absentee ballots cast. What I've been advised is that a typical election would have 400 to 500 absentee ballots."
Absentee ballots can be cast in circuit courts throughout the state Friday and between 8 a.m. and noon Saturday. Mail ballots must be in the hands of the circuit clerk's office by 5 p.m. Monday.
Rook said the low turn-out is probably a reflection of the lack of local races.
There are two contested primary races and one uncontested race, depending on where a voter lives in the two counties.
In all precincts of both counties, voters will be able to vote in Republican and Democratic primaries for U.S. Senate. Republican primary voters can choose between incumbent Roger Wicker or Richard Boyanton. The Democratic primary includes six candidates -- Dave Baria, Jensen Bohren, Jerone Garland, Victor Maurice, Omeria Scott and Howard Sherman.
In Oktibbeha County, there are two primaries for the Third District U.S. House of Representative seat, which is being vacated by Gregg Harper. There are six candidates on the Republican primary ballot -- Sally Doty, Morgan Dunn, Michael Guest, Whit Hughes, Perry Parker and Katherine Tate. Michael Aycox and Michael Evans will compete in the Democratic primary.
In Lowndes County and parts of Oktibbeha County, incumbent Republican Trent Kelly is listed on the ballot but has no primary opponent. Randy Wadkins has no opponent in the Democratic primary and will meet Kelly in the November 6 general election.
Run-offs in contested races, if necessary, will be held June 26.
Barksdale is reminding voters of changing in polling places for Tuesday's election.
"The Union Academy polling place is now across the street at 15th Street Church of God in Christ," she said. "Also, people who voted at the National Guard armory (in the past) will vote at Southside Missionary Baptist Church."
The 15th Street Church of God will be a permanent polling place while the Southside Missionary site will be used for this election only, with the National Guard armory returning as a polling place for the Nov. 6 general election and subsequent elections.
Slim Smith is a columnist and feature writer for The Dispatch. His email address is [email protected]