Workers report strong turnout

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Poll workers opened the doors of precincts to waiting crowds ofvoters this morning – a prelude to what most believe will a heavyturnout for today’s party primaries.

Polls will remain open today until 7 p.m. to allow voters tocast their ballots in either the Democratic or Republicanprimary.

Polls opened at 7 a.m. today and poll workers reported a largeinitial surge of voters that developed into a constant stream.

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“There’s been some waiting, but not a lot,” said Debbie Sartin,Democratic poll manager for the Government Complex precinct. “We’vehad a big early morning turnout. There was a long line when wefirst opened.”

Nearly 40 Democrats had cast their ballots at the precinct by8:30 a.m., Sartin said.

In contrast, Rosie Forrest, the Republican poll manager at theprecinct, said only one ballot had been cast. She added, however,that it was not unusual for Republicans to have a low voter turnoutat the precinct.

“We never get a lot at this precinct. Three or four is the mostwe’ve ever received,” she said.

The pace at the City Hall precinct was similar with 35Democratic voters before 9 a.m., said Betty Walker, Democratic pollmanager.

Republican races, however, were receiving more attention with 16voters casting ballots in that primary, said Millard Smith,Republican poll manager at the precinct.

The City Hall precinct was confronted with an early problem withthe voting machines that was quickly resolved, Walker said.

“We had two machines that wouldn’t work at first, but we gotthem up quickly,” she said. “When we only had one machine there wasa crowd, but now that we have them all running people have beenrunning through pretty quickly.”

Anna Moak, an 18-year-old college freshmen, cast her firstballot this morning. She said it was the responsibility of everyeligible voter to visit the polls today and vote theirconscience.

“I want to be a good citizen to our county and Mississippi,” shesaid. “I’m active in the political scene at my college, so I feltit was my civic duty to vote.”

Moak said the decision whether to vote Democratic or Republicanwas easy because she wanted to vote for specific candidates in apair of races, one of which was dominated by Republicans during theprimary elections.

“I wanted to vote for the District 92 race and secretary ofstate,” Moak said.

Some voters have been confused when confronted with the choice,Walker said. They want to vote in the local elections, which arefeatured mainly on the Democratic ballot, but also want to vote forRepublican candidates at the state and regional level.

Unfortunately, they can’t do both, Walker said. Voters will notbe able to cast their ballots regardless of political party untilthe Nov. 6 general election.

“We’re trying to explain it to them,” she said.

Janet Moreton, a Republican poll worker at City Hall precinct,said it has been a hard choice for some.

“There are a lot who will vote Republican in November, but whowant to vote for the locals now,” she said.

Runoffs, where necessary, will be held Aug. 28.