Voters have their say Tuesday

Published 6:00 am Monday, November 6, 2000

Months of campaigning come to an end Tuesday when voters acrossthe nation go to the polls to choose the next President.

Lincoln Countians will also be helping to decide races for U.S.Senate, 4th District Representative, a seat on the state supremecourt and a few locally-contested county school board and electioncommissioner races.

“From the interest we’ve seen in absentee voting, it should be abig turnout,” said Circuit Clerk Terry Lynn Case, adding she isalways optimistic for a good voter response.

Case said absentee voting is a good indicator for predictinggeneral election turnout.

After Saturday, the last day to vote absentee in the clerk’soffice, 908 people had voted absentee. Absentee ballots may bereceived by mail until 5 p.m. Monday.

As of Oct. 7, the last day to register to be eligible to vote inTuesday’s election, Lincoln County’s voter population was 23,678,Case said.

Case said presidential elections bring a big turnout, and thisyear should be no exception. The too-close-to-call race involvingRepublican George W. Bush and Democrat Vice President Al Gore, withsome longshot candidates also on the ballot, will attractsupporters from both sides, election officials predicted.

“I expect a high turnout because of the President’s race and thelocal people involved in some races,” said John Hightower, District1 election commissioner.

In addition to the President’s race, the only other statewidecontest on the ballot pits incumbent U.S. Senator Trent Lott, theRepublican majority leader, against Democrat Troy Brown, of IttaBena. Three other candidates’ names appear on the ballot.

In a closely-watched 4th District U.S. Representative race,which has been marked by controversial campaigning on both sides,incumbent Democrat Ronnie Shows is going against Republican DunnLampton, the district attorney for Lincoln, Pike and Walthallcounties. Two other candidates are also on the ballot.

Although Bush is expected to carry the state popular vote, somepolitical observers have suggested the 4th district outcome coulddecide how the state goes should the presidential election have tobe decided by the House of Representatives. Some have alsosuggested the outcome could impact the balance of power in thecurrently GOP-controlled House.

In another race involving an area official, 14th DistrictCircuit Judge Keith Starrett is among three candidates seeking aspot on the Mississippi Supreme Court. Starrett is going againstJudge Billy Joe Landrum, of Laurel, and appointed incumbent OliverDiaz.

Supreme court races have not been without their own share ofcontroversy.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce ads backing Starrett and pro-businesscandidates in other races have been called into question overcampaign finance laws. Trial lawyers associations’ contributions tocandidates friendly to their causes have also generated somediscussion

At least one new member of the Lincoln County School DistrictBoard of Trustees is guaranteed following Tuesday’s election.

Johnny L. Hart and Jo Beth Thompson are vying for theEducational District 2 school board seat being vacated by RandallLofton. Educational District 2 includes all of the Old Red Starprecinct and portions of the Loyd Star, Heuck’s Retreat, LittleBahalia, Montgomery and New Sight precincts.

In Educational District 1, incumbent Jerry Coon is beingchallenged by Bryan Kyzar, a graduate of Enterprise High School.Educational District 1 includes all of the Ruth precinct andportions of the East Lincoln, Forestry and Enterpriseprecincts.

Only voters in the respective precincts will be voting in theeducational district races.

Lincoln County voters will also be choosing electioncommissioners Tuesday, but there is only one contested race for aspot on the commission.

In District 5, incumbent Lee Warren faces Robert O. Martin.Commissioner unopposed for re-election include Hightower inDistrict 1; Michael Byrne, District 2; Bernard McClelland, District3 and Charles Smith, District 4.