Officials gear up for voting

Published 5:00 am Monday, August 14, 2000

Lincoln County officials are gearing up for this year’s votingthat will see election commissioners and two members of the countyschool board chosen in addition to federal and state offices.

Lincoln County School Board posts for Districts 1 and 2,currently held by Jerry Coon and Randall Lofton, are on the Nov. 7general election ballot and the qualifying period began Wednesday,said Circuit Clerk Terry Lynn Case.

Case said she has received some calls about qualifyingrequirements and one person, Johnny L. Hart, has submitted hispetition to seek the school board post held by Lofton. Lofton’s wasthe first signature on Hart’s qualifying petition.

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To seek a school board post, a person must submit a petitionwith signatures of 50 registered voters from the district he isseeking to represent. The deadline is Sept. 8.

Those are the same qualifications for people seeking to beelection commissioners.

Incumbents John Hightower, District 1; Mike Byrne, District 2;Bernard McClelland, District 3 and Lee Warren, District 5, hadsubmitted petitions and the voters’ signatures verified, Case said.The signatures on Hart’s petition have also been verified.

“They’re officially qualified to run,” Case said, adding thatDistrict 4 Election Commissioner Charles Smith had picked up apetition but not returned it.

Case said absentee ballots are in the process of being preparedto be sent to the printer. She will get the names of federal andstate office candidates from the Secretary of State’s office andthe names of local office-seekers will be added to the ballotsafter the qualifying deadline.

“We’ll have them back by the third week in September so peoplecan start voting absentee,” Case said.

With the general election less than three months away, Case saidthere still seems to be little interest.

“We haven’t really heard a lot of talk about the election,” Casesaid, adding that she expected that to change.

The main attraction on the November ballot will be thepresident’s race where Republican George W. Bush will faceDemocratic Vice-president Al Gore for the right to succeed BillClinton.

“The president’s race always brings a lot of people out tovote,” Case said.

In other federal offices, incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. TrentLott is seeking re-election against Democrat Troy Brown. In the 4thDistrict House of Representatives race, area District Attorney DunnLampton, the Republican, is trying to unseat Democratic Rep. RonnieShows.

In a state race, Lincoln County voters will be helping to selecta member of the state Supreme Court. Area Circuit Judge KeithStarrett is vying for the office against incumbent Oliver Diaz, whowas appointed following former justice Michael Sullivan’sdeath.