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Heavy traffic expected at county polls

November 4, 2012

County election commissioners say Tuesday’s General Election voters should exercise patience and drive carefully to the polls as heavy traffic is expected in areas near voting precincts.

Polls open 7 a.m. tomorrow and close at 7 p.m.

District 1 Election Commissioner Greg Fulgham said voters heading to the West Starkville precinct, located at the National Guard Armory on Miss. Highway 12, should enter the location from the highway and exit on Industrial Road. National Guard personnel will help direct traffic and assist voters, and the adjoining former Templeton car lot will be open for overflow parking.

Sissy Smitherman, District 2 election commissioner, said both East Starkville and Northeast Starkville precinct voters will cast their ballots in Humphrey Coliseum’s President’s Reception Room. Signs directing voters to the polls will be placed on the building’s western entrance.

Maben precinct voters will cast their ballots at the newly constructed Maben City Hall, District 3 Election Commissioner Myles Carpenter said. Voters with flexible schedules, he said, should consider voting mid-morning or mid-afternoon at the precinct to avoid long lines.

Voters could see heavy traffic on Lynn Lane as they approach the Starkville Sportsplex, District 4 Election Commissioner Joe Baker said. Ample parking locations should be available, but voters might have to walk a distance to the polls.

Finally, Bettye Ford, District 5 election commissioner, said parking at the Gillespie Street Center in Starkville may become scarce during heavy turnout periods. Voters heading to the Gillespie precinct can utilize the parking area located at the old Corhern grocery store.

County Democratic Party members want to remind voters that no voter ID requirement is in place for Tuesday’s election.

In a statement, Miss. Democratic Party Chairman Rickey Cole said poll watchers across the state will challenge any attempt at voter suppression, “including any effort to require identification (except for first-time voters who registered by mail).”

Last week, Republican Gov. Phil Bryant said he thinks it would be good for people to voluntarily show photo ID.

“If you have to show a ID to buy a pack of cigarettes or to buy alcohol, which you should, then certainly you ought to have to present an ID to vote, so that we are certain that you’re not stealing someone else’s liberty and their chance to vote,” Bryant said to the Associated Press last week.

The chairman of the state Legislative Black Caucus, Democratic Sen. Kenny Wayne Jones of Canton, said the governor’s comments were careless.

“As elected officials, we are responsible for providing clear, concise and accurate information to our constituents, not our opinions,” Jones said to the Associated Press. “This type of misleading information coming from the governor of our great state is confusing and intimidating to voters in an already fragile process.”

Area voting precincts and their respective polling locations are as follows:
Starkville locations:
• Central Starkville — Oktibbeha County Circuit Court Annex, 108 West Main Street;
• Northeast Starkville —Humphrey Coliseum, 55 Coliseum Boulevard, Mississippi State University;
• East Starkville — Humphrey Coliseum, 55 Coliseum Boulevard, MSU;
• Gillespie — Gillespie Street Center, 610 East Gillespie St.;
• North Starkville II —Boardtown Village, 905 North Montgomery St.;
• North Starkville III — Fire Station No. 3, 102 West Garrard Road;
• South Starkville — Starkville Sportsplex, 405 Lynn Lane;
• West Starkville — National Guard Armory, Miss. Highway 12 West;
County locations:
• North Longview — Longview Volunteer Fire Department, 2168 Miss. Hwy. 12 West;
• South Adaton — Adaton Baptist Church, 1975 U.S. Hwy. 82 West;
• Self Creek/Double Springs — Self Creek/Double Springs Volunteer Fire Department, 3407 U.S. Hwy. 82 West;
• Hickory Grove/southeast — Belaire Fire Station, Miss. Highway 182 East;
• Osborn — Osborn Volunteer Fire Department, 16th Section Road;
• Bell Schoolhouse — Bell School House Volunteer Fire Department, 2221 Miss. Hwy. 389;
• Center Grove/North Adaton — Adaton Volunteer Fire Department, 2237 Reed Road;
• Maben — Maben City Hall;
• South Longview — Longview Volunteer Fire Department, 2168 Miss. Hwy. 12 West;
• Craig Springs/South Bradley — Crag Springs Volunteer Fire Department, 2199 Craig Springs Road;
• Sturgis/North Bradley — Sturgis Volunteer Fire Department, 2729 Montgomery St., Sturgis;
• Oktoc — Oktoc Volunteer Fire Department, Oktoc Road;
• Sessums — Sessums Volunteer Fire Department, 3100 Turkey Creek Road.

Besides the presidential race, Oktibbeha County voters will also vote for a U.S. Senate seat and, depending on where residents live, one of two U.S. House of Representatives seats.

A majority of county voters will also cast ballots in the 3rd District House race between incumbent Republican Rep. Gregg Harper and Reform Party Candidate John “Luke” Pannell. The district spans an area from Starkville through Jackson, ending around Natchez. Following the 2010 Census, a portion of Oktibbeha County was removed from the district and placed in the 1st District.

Republican U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee is challenged by four candidates for the 1st District House seat: Democrat Brad Morris, Libertarian Danny Bedwell, Constitution Party member Jim R. Bourland and Reform Party member Chris Potts.

Split ballots will be offered in the Craig Springs/South Bradley and Center Grove/North Adaton precincts.
Republican U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker faces former Oktibbeha County Democratic Party Chairman Albert N. Gore Jr. Both men are on the statewide ballot, along with Tom Cramer (Constitution Party) and Shawn O’Hara (Reform Party).

Voters will also help decide the District 3 Mississippi Supreme Court Justice race between Josiah Dennis Coleman and Richard “Flip” Phillips.

Locally, county election commissioners are on the Nov. 6 General Election ballot. Four of the county’s five districts feature unopposed candidates, while two Republicans — Fulgham and Judith “Judy” Goodman —will face off for District 1’s position.

Two county school board elections are null following the state takeover of Oktibbeha County School District.

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