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Officials prepare for special election

City officials are making their final preparations for Tuesday’sspecial election for mayor and city clerk.

“We visited all the polling places this morning,” ElectionCommission Chairwoman Bonita Bullock said Friday. “We goteverything checked out, and we’ll be ready to set up tables Mondayafternoon.”

Polls will be open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

In the mayor’s race, current Ward Four Alderman Bob Massengill,former Alderman John Roberts and Sam Dodds, a securities trader,are looking to succeed long-time Mayor Bill Godbold, who resignedApril 1. Godbold was in his sixth, non-consecutive term asmayor.

In the city clerk’s race, office bookkeeper Mike Jinks facesMandy Sproles Dann, office manager for the Human PerformanceCompany. The winner will succeed Iris Rudman Smith, who resignedlast month during her fifth term in office.

Since there are only two candidates, there will be a winnerTuesday in the city clerk’s race, Bullock said.

To avoid a runoff in the mayor’s race, a candidate will need toget 50 percent plus one vote for a majority. Otherwise, Bullocksaid, a runoff between the top two vote-getters will be Tuesday,May 25.

The special election winners will fill the remainder of theterms through June 2005. Regular elections for city offices arenext year.

Bullock did not offer a prediction on voter turnout Tuesday.

“It’s according to how the weather is,” she said. “I believewe’ll have a good turnout, and it’ll be better if it’s notraining.”

Bullock said there had been a lot of interest in both themayor’s and city clerk’s races.

“I hope the people will come out,” she said.

Saturday was the last day for people to vote absentee in thecity clerk’s office. Twenty-six had done so by the noondeadline.

Monday at 5 p.m. is the deadline for absentee ballots to bereturned by mail.

As of Saturday, 116 absentee ballots had been sent out and 88had been returned. Absentee ballots submited by the deadline willbe reviewed, verified and counted Tuesday.

“So far, it looks good,” Bullock said about absentee voting.

As for special election polling place staffing, Bullock saidfive poll workers will be at five of the six places. Six pollworkers will be assigned to Ward Four.

“That’s one of the heaviest (voting) places since four of thecandidates live in that ward,” said Bullock, adding that Doddslives in Ward Two.

With 1,573, Ward Four also has the highest individual ward voterpopulation. Overall, the city has 7,829 registered voters.