Absentee deadline Saturday for second primary voters

Published 5:00 am Friday, August 22, 2003

Election officials are reminding voters that the deadline tosubmit absentee voting ballots is tomorrow at noon for the Aug. 26second primary, or runoff, election.

Mail-in ballots, however, can be accepted until 5 p.m. Monday,said Lincoln County Circuit Clerk Terry Lynn Watkins.

“I’d love to see us break a record in Lincoln County and havemore people turn out for the runoff than did for the firstprimary,” she said.

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The first primary had a voter turn out of nearly 48 percent, alow figure for elections with local races.

“Normally when all the county offices are on the ballot, we haveabout 52 or 53 percent,” she said. “That’s still a low turn out,but better than 48 percent.”

Even with a low turn out for the first primary, chances are slimthat more voters will go to the polls Tuesday.

“In reality,” Watkins said, “we’ll be lucky if half that 48percent comes back. I hope I’m wrong on that, but that’straditionally what happens.”

Lawrence County Circuit Clerk Cindy Stokes said nearly 60percent of the county’s registered voters went to the polls in thefirst primary, but agreed most voters usually don’t return in thesame numbers for the second.

Watkins and Stokes both hope some of the hotly-contested localraces will keep interest strong for the second primary.

Watkins cited the runoff in the sheriff’s race and the race fora new supervisor district 1 as drawing a lot of countyinterest.

In Lawrence County, Stokes said she has heard the publicspeaking openly and discussing candidates in nearly every race. Sheis hoping for a good turn out there and said absentee ballots hadbeen coming in.

“We’re having a very good turnout so far,” she said, “and it hasreally picked up this last week.”

Voters returning to the polls Tuesday must vote in the sameparty primary that they did Aug. 5, Watkins said.

For example, if a person voted on the Democratic ticket duringthe first primary, they must also vote on the Democratic ticketduring the runoff elections.

However, voters who did not participate on Aug. 5 can vote oneither party’s ticket during the runoff, she said.

“Even if you did not vote in the first primary, you are entitledto vote in the second,” Stokes agreed.