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Local votes mirror statewide trend

Almost 60 percent of Lincoln County’s registered voters turnedout Tuesday to help produce election results that mirroredstatewide totals.

Lincoln County Circuit Clerk Terry Lynn Watkins said she was”very excited” to see 15,426 people cast ballots for president andother races. That number represented a turnout of just more than 59percent of the county’s 26,127 registered voters.

“I hope people will stay this motivated,” Watkins said aboutfuture elections. “It shows when people are interested in anelection, they will get out and vote.”

While the presidential race was close nationally, Lincoln Countyvoters clearly favored President Bush.

In Lincoln County, Bush received 9,889 votes, or 69 percent, to4,372 votes, or 30.5 percent, for Democratic challenger Sen. JohnKerry. Five other candidates on the ballot tallied a combined 65votes.

In the other federal race on the ballot, incumbent ThirdDistrict U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering garnered 11,641 votes, or 81.3percent. Independent candidate Jim Giles got 1,847 votes, or 12.8percent, and Reform Party candidate Lamonica L. Magee had 773votes, or 5.3 percent.

In state races, Lincoln County voters helped incumbent SupremeCourt Justice Mike Randolph retain his seat on the high court benchover Appeals Court Judge Joe Lee. Randolph got 9,373 votes, or 67.5percent, to 4,408, or 31.7 percent, for Lee.

By more than a 9-1 margin, Lincoln County favored aconstitutional amendment defining marriage as being only between aman and a woman. The vote was 13,287 to 1,314 to prohibit same-sexmarriages in Mississippi and to not recognize those marriages fromother states.

In the lone contested race involving only Lincoln County,incumbent District Five Election Commissioner Lee Warren waselected to an eighth term over Robert Martin. Warren received 1,852votes, or 62 percent, to 1,101 votes, or 37 percent, forMartin.

“I appreciate the people of Beat Five,” Warren said followinghis victory. “I will be forever grateful to them.”

In other election activity Tuesday, some Brookhaven and LincolnCounty young people got insight in the voting process by serving asstudent poll workers at precincts during the day.

Lincoln County Election Commission Chairman John Hightower said25 students participated in the Student Poll Worker Program thatwas promoted by the secretary of state’s office. He said thestudents’ roles Tuesday were limited, but the effort wasinformative.

“They weren’t allowed to do anything but mostly observe,”Hightower said.

Brookhaven High School student Lynnique Tucker, 17, who workedat the Alexander precinct, said Tuesday was fun and exciting.

“It’s a good experience for high school students,” said Tucker,adding it helps students learn about the voting process.

Fellow BHS students Brittny Glasper and Akira Dixon, both 17,worked at the Northwest Brookhaven precinct. As she approaches her18th birthday, Glasper said she thought voting would be hard, butTuesday’s experience showed her otherwise.

“After seeing the process, it looks pretty simple and makes mefor comfortable for when I go to vote,” Glasper said.

Dixon said she was discouraged with early voter turnout Tuesday,but that improved quickly. She said her precinct had over 200 votesby 9 a.m. Tuesday.

“It teaches you that it really doesn’t matter how you vote, butthat you get out and vote,” Dixon said. “It’s the most importantthing about today.”