Voting off to slow start today

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Voters today will determine which Democratic candidate willchallenge incumbent Republican Sen. Trent Lott and a Libertarian inthe general election in November.

Polls will remain open until 7 p.m. today, although circuitclerks are predicting a very poor turnout.

Two hours after polls opened this morning, workers worried thatthey would not see more than a handful of voters.

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Aside from poll workers, only one vote had been cast at the EastLincoln Precinct, said Bobbie Boyd, poll manager.

At the Forest Precinct no votes had been cast, said poll workerElsie Cameron.

The only race on the ballot here is the Democratic primary todecide who will oppose Lott, of Pascagoula.

In a Democratic bid to challenge Lott are Bill Bowlin, ofHickory Flat; Erik Fleming, of Clinton; James O’Keefe, of Biloxi;and Catherine M. Starr, of Hattiesburg.

Howard Taylor, a Libertarian from Nesbit, will also be on theballot in November.

Voters statewide will use the new touch-screen voting machinesfor the first time in Democratic primaries for one U.S. Senate seatand two of Mississippi’s four U.S. House seats. There is noRepublican primary.

Poll workers this morning said setting up for the machines wentwell.

“We had one small problem, but we were able to solve it prettyquickly,” Boyd said.

Poll workers also voiced some concern that some people may feelintimidated by the machines and decide not to vote. They urgedvoters to come in and try them during this small election so theywill be prepared when there are more races on the ballot inNovember and during next year’s state and county elections.

Ballots for the general election Nov. 7 will also include racesfor several state and regional judicial posts.