Candidates’ goal to get supporters out in runoff vote

Published 5:00 am Friday, August 24, 2007

Getting voters to the polls for Tuesdays Democratic primaryrunoff election will be the key to winning the race, candidatessay.

“That’s the most important thing – to get everyone back out tovote,” said Art Likens, a candidate for Justice Court Judge PostOne. “I think (turnout) will drop some. Most of the major races,like the sheriff’s race, are complete.”

Likens will face Ralph Boone for the office in the runoff.

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Clint Earls, a candidate for Post One constable, said he alsofelt that the lack of a major race would have an effect onparticipation.

“I’m really unsure (how the turnout will be),” he said. “Iexpect the worst and hope for the best. With a lot of the biggerraces over with, I’m not sure how big it will be.”

The Post One constable’s race will be decided Tuesday betweenEarls and Kelly Porter.

Ann Reeves, a candidate for Justice Court Judge Post Two, saidshe hopes for more than the traditional low turnout forrunoffs.

“Unfortunately, I’m afraid we may have a low turnout,” she said.”I hope the people will go to the polls to vote. I’d like to see agood turnout. It’s kind of like starting the campaign all overagain.”

Reeves said a strong turnout is important, but was uncertain itwould give her an advantage over her opponent, Carl Brown.

“It’s hard to say,” Reeves said. “It just depends on who goes tothe polls.”

C.E. “Eddie” Brown, who will meet incumbent District FourSupervisor Doug Moak Tuesday, said voting is a right enjoyed byevery citizen and they should exercise it.

“We’re hoping for a good turnout,” he said. “We’re trying tomake calls – I have people making calls for me – to try to get asmany as possible to turn out. There’s been a few more signs put outand we’re advertising to try to get the word out.”

Earls said door-to-door visits are his best chance to encouragevoters.

“I’m seeing as many people as I possibly can and encouragingthem to go to the polls on Aug. 28,” he said.

Likens agreed.

“I’ve been out every single day, sometimes until 6 or 7 p.m.,”he said, adding that supporters have also been making visits andtelephone calls on his behalf.

Judge candidate Carl Brown said he believes there will be astrong turnout Tuesday based on the people he has talked to duringhis campaign.

“I’ve never experienced (an election) before, but people I’vetalked to say they’re going to come out,” he said. “I’m just askingpeople to come out. I think that’s the main thing people want youto do.”

Despite campaigning by the candidates and the continued presenceof signs and banners and advertising, some voters are still unawareof Tuesday’s runoff, candidates said.

“A lot of people have said they thought we were done untilNovember,” Reeves said. “They didn’t realize there was a runoffTuesday. I think if we had another race we could get them out alittle easier.”

Post Two includes all of District One and parts of Districts Twoand Three.

“A lot of the people I talk to realize there is a runoff, butsome of them are also unsure if they can vote,” Earls said.

The Democratic Party runoff is open to any voter who voted onthe Democratic ticket during the primary and to voters who did notcast any ballots on Aug. 7, said Circuit Clerk Terry Lynn Watkins.Those who voted in the Republican primary do not have a runoffelection and are prohibited from voting in the Democratic runoff,she said.

The primary system will have some effect on the amount ofsupport candidates are able to bring to the polls, they said.

“Some of (my supporters) have told me they wanted to vote on theDemocratic ticket, but they voted Republican on Aug. 7 to support aHouse candidate and won’t be able to give me their vote Tuesday,”Earls said.

Absentee ballots will be accepted at the Circuit Clerk’s officeuntil Saturday, Watkins said. It will be open from 8 a.m. to noonto assist voters who will not be able to visit the polls onTuesday.

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

Attempts to contact Moak, Porter and Boone wereunsuccessful.