Over 30 possible ballots awaiting primary voters

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, July 30, 2003

State and county redistricting of legislative and supervisordistrict lines will mean new faces in new places for a number ofcounty voters and over 30 different ballot possibilities in nextTuesday’s party primaries.

Citing legislative, supervisor, justice court judge and schooldistrict lines, Lincoln County Circuit Clerk Terry Lynn Watkinssaid the Democratic primary will have 19 different ballot faces forstate and county races. The Republican primary, she said, will have12 different ballots.

In which primary a person votes and where the voter lives willdetermine which ballot the voter receives. Watkins said all thedistrict-related information is included in the poll books forballot determination.

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“We’ve cautioned poll workers to look at the poll books and giveeach voter the correct ballot,” said Watkins, adding that thecounty’s workers are experienced, and she does not anticipate anyproblems.

Three precincts — East Lincoln, Montgomery, and Enterprise –have four different ballot faces each, Watkins said. Thoseprecincts are divided between state House Districts 92 and 53 andthe city and county school districts.

Watkins said the legislative redistricting affected much of thecounty.

“A lot of precincts changed,” Watkins said. “All of District 5is now is House District 92. It used to not be.”

In the 1999 election, Watkins said, 15 of Lincoln County’s 32precincts were in House District 92, which is represented by Dr.Jim Barnett, and 15 were House District 53, represented by BobbyMoak. The Little Bahalia precinct was split between Barnett’s andMoak’s districts, and Ruth was split between Moak’s district andHouse District 97.

Today, Watkins said, 18 precincts are wholly within HouseDistrict 92 and 11 help make up House District 53. Three precincts,East Lincoln, Montgomery and Enterprise, are split between thetwo.

Redrawing of Senate district lines simplified things for LincolnCounty.

Now, all of the county is back within Senate District 39,represented by Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith. In 1999, the Old Red Star andCaseyville precincts were part of Senate District 36.

Justice Court Judge and Constable post lines are another factoradding to ballot variations. Fifteen precincts are in Post One and17 are in Post Two.

“We have 13 precincts that are split as far as separate schooldistrict and county school district,” Watkins said.

The distinction is that separate school district residents willnot participate in the county superintendent of education race.That race will not appear on ballots in the city schooldistrict.

With the various race combinations, the Democratic primary inDistrict Two and Three will have the most ballot possibilities withfive, Watkins said.

The Republican primary in District Five will have only oneballot. Watkins said that district is all in District 92 andJustice Court Post One, and the city-county school district splithad no effect on ballot printing.

“We didn’t have to do (different) city and county schooldistrict ballots because there’s not a Republican in theSuperintendent of Education race,” Watkins said.

Lincoln County last year redrew supervisor district lines in aneffort to ensure each district has roughly the same population. Todo that, an estimated 2,000 voters were administratively relocatedto new precincts and in some cases new supervisor districts.

“It’s created some confusion, especially among the elderly,”Watkins said about redistricting effects.

Watkins said her office has been notifying people of their newvoting status. The send-outs have included letters explaining thereasons for the changes.

Watkins said most voters had been understanding when they calledher office for further explanation. She indicated that some,though, were disgruntled about no longer being able to vote for aparticular person or in a particular race.

“We hope that’s not going to keep anybody from voting,” Watkinssaid.

In other voting matters, Watkins said 340 people had eithervoted absentee in her office or requested an absentee ballot bymail.

Saturday is the last day for people to vote absentee in theclerk’s office, which will be open from 8 a.m. until noon. Ballotsrequested by mail must be returned by mail by 5 p.m. Monday.

Also, District 3 Supervisor Nolan Earl Williamson said Wednesdaythat Bogue Chitto voters will vote in the school library instead ofin the gymnasium, as in past elections. Due to school construction,the supervisor said power will be off in the gym and therefore, thevoting location had to be moved.

“It’ll be a little aggravating, but it’ll be all right,”Williamson said.

Voters may participate in either the Democratic or Republicanprimary.

There is no crossover voting. Those who vote in one party’sfirst primary may not switch to the other’s party second primary,which is scheduled for Aug. 26.