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Deadline nears for absentee voting in runoff

More than 100 absentee ballots have already found their way intothe office of the Lincoln County circuit clerk for Tuesday’s runoffelection.

The Democratic runoff will feature races for state auditor andfour local races. There is no Republican runoff.

Absentee voting opened quietly Saturday, said Circuit Clerk TerryLynn Watkins, but few people were aware of it.

“We found out early Saturday morning that people can come vote andopened the office, but no one knew so there were no votes taken,”she said.

However, voters began coming into the office or requesting mail-inballots on Monday, Watkins said.

“We want to encourage anyone who will need a ballot to get in touchwith us immediately,” she said. “We have a bit of a time crunch towork through.”

The Democratic ticket includes runoffs between Todd Brand and MikeSumrall for the party’s nomination for state auditor, and fourlocal races:

* District Four Supervisor – incumbent Doug Moak and C.E. “Eddie”Brown

* Justice Court Judge Post One: Ralph Boone and Art Likens

* Justice Court Judge Post Two: Carl Brown and Ann Reeves

* Constable Post One: Clint Earls and Kelly Porter.

Watkins said Saturday will be the last day her office can acceptabsentee ballots. It will be open from 8 a.m. to noon to assistvoters who will not be able to visit the polls on Tuesday.

Mail-in ballots postmarked by Saturday will be accepted until 5p.m. Monday.

The Democratic election is open to any voter who voted on theDemocratic ticket during the primary and to voters who did not casta ballot in either primary on Aug. 7, she said.

Those who voted in the Republican primary do not have a runoffelection and are prohibited from voting in the Democratic runoff,Watkins said.

Watkins said the number of absentee ballots received by her officegives her hope that the county may overcome the traditional poorturnout for runoff elections. She is also given hope by the effortsof candidates striving to encourage people to go to the pollsTuesday.

“They know that’s their biggest challenge,” she said. “Normally, wehave a very low turnout for a runoff and we have several races onthe line. We really need a good turnout.”