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Voters head to polls for local runoffs

August 22, 2011

By CARL SMITH
sdnnews@bellsouth.net

Oktibbeha County Circuit Clerk Angie McGinnis said her office held its last pre-election meeting Monday in preparation for today’s runoff.
Extra training sessions were held, she said, so poll workers and bailiffs will be more aware of voting regulations and to reinforce the duties of each poll worker and manager. She said this knowledge will help prevent the types of irregularities and complaints her office received during the Aug. 2 primary.
Various reports of voting irregularities were received by the circuit clerk’s office following the Aug. 2 primary: at least 45 pre-marked Democratic ballot proofs were confiscated by poll workers and improper voter assistance was given to voters who did not need it.
After a meeting between county party leaders, McGinnis said she alerted the secretary of state’s office to the irregularities and asked for observers to be present during tomorrow’s runoff.
McGinnis said at least one observer from the secretary of state’s office will be in the county today and will travel from precinct to precinct.
“I don’t expect more than that simply because they’re (the Mississippi Secretary of State observers) are stretched pretty thin because they traditionally go to other counties,” she said. “The observer will take a hands-off approach and simply observe each precinct. If they see irregularities of concern that they feel we need to be aware of, they’ll report them to my office and the county Democratic and Republican leadership.”
Myles Carpenter, Oktibbeha County Election Commission chairperson, said he believes fewer irregularities will occur during the runoff than in the primary because of the focus given to the laws and regulations.
“We’ve had meetings to make sure (poll workers’) eyes are open,” he said. “We’ll bear down on the issues.”
Only 36 percent of Oktibbeha county voters took part in the Aug. 2 primary, and McGinnis said she expects about a 10 percent drop in today’s voter turnout.
“I’d love to be proven wrong and get all of our voters back from Aug. 2,” she said.
Under the state’s election rules, voters who cast their ballots in the Aug. 2 primary must vote the same ticket — voters who voted Democrat must again vote for that party’s candidates, while voters who cast ballots in GOP races must follow suit.
Voters who did not participate in the primary may choose either party’s ballots in the runoff.
One statewide and four local races are on today’s Democratic ballot. Voters will choose between the following candidates to represent their parties in the November general election: Debbie Carrithers and Lisa Wynn for county tax collector; Teresa Davis-Roberson and Debra Prisock Wood for county circuit clerk; Dolph Bryan and Steve Gladney for sheriff; Joe Williams and John Young for District 5 Supervisor; Johnny L. DuPree and Bill Luckett for governor.
Only one Republican statewide race is on the ballot for Tuesday’s runoff. Voters will choose between Lynn Fitch and Lee Yancey to represent the GOP in November’s state treasurer race.
Polls will open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. Starkville voting locations include:
u Oktibbeha County Circuit Court Complex.
u Humphrey Coliseum.
u Gillespie Street Center.
u Boardtown Village.
u The fire department located at 102 West Garrard Road.
u Starkville Sportsplex.
u National Guard Armory.
County voting locations include:
u Bell Schoolhouse Fire Station.
u Adaton Fire Station.
u Craig Springs Fire Station.
u Maben Fire Department.
u Longview Fire Station.
u Oktoc Fire Station.
u 16 Section Fire Station.
u Adaton Baptist Church.
u Sturgis Fire Station.
u Longview Fire Station.
u Sessums Fire Station.
u East Oktibbeha Fire Station.
u Self Creek/Double Springs Fire Station at Turner Road.

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