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Polls open Tuesday for state primary

Lincoln County election officials are encouraging citizens toparticipate in Tuesday’s state Democratic presidential primary eventhough its outcome will have little impact on the nationalscene.

Circuit Clerk Terry Lynn Case said absentee voting participationhas been non-existent and interest among people she has spoken withabout the primary has been low.

“Most of them are like, ‘What election?,'” Watkins said.

One possible reason for the low interest is that U.S. Sen. JohnKerry, of Massachusetts, has wrapped up the Democratic party’snomination to face incumbent President George W. Bush in November.Sen. John Edwards, one of Kerry’s last serious challengers, droppedout of the race Wednesday.

“John Kerry is the nominee,” Watkins said. “In a sense, ourelection is kind of moot.”

Still, polls will be open Tuesday from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

“Hopefully, people will get out and vote,” Watkins said.

With no Democrat or Republican party challengers to U.S. Rep.Chip Pickering, the Democratic presidential primary will be theonly race on Tuesday’s ballot. Pickering does have some independentopposition in the November general election for the congressionalpost.

In addition to Kerry, other names appearing of the Tuesdaypresidential primary ballots include Edwards, Wesley Clark, HowardDean, Dennis Kucinich, Lyndon LaRouche, Joe Lieberman, the Rev. AlSharpton and Uncommitted.

Ballots were printed before Kerry secured the nomination.Watkins said Kerry’s relative ease in securing the nomination wasanother reason voter interest is low.

“I think that was a factor,” Watkins said.

While the national party outcome has been decided, Watkins saidparticipating in Tuesday’s election is a way to see tax dollars atwork.

“If you’re a taxpayer in Lincoln County, you’re helping to payfor this election,” Watkins said. “Why not go vote?”