Clerk’s office gets ready for absentee voting

Published 5:00 am Monday, March 16, 2009

With municipal qualifying over, officials in the city clerk’soffice are gearing up for the absentee ballot stage of primaryelections, which begins in a week.

City Clerk Mike Jinks said absentee ballot applications will beoffered in his office at the government complex starting March 23,and will be accepted through April 2 in person and May 4 bymail.

There are several rules voters have to meet in order to vote ina municipal election. They must be a citizen of the United Stateswho has lived in the city in which they are voting for 30 daysbefore the election, at least 18 years of age by the time of theelection, among others.

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Absentee voters must fit those qualifications, and can qualifyto vote absentee if they will not be in town the day of theelection, or if they are over 65 or have other physicallimitations.

“We usually have people in the nursing homes, those that areover 65, people that travel and are out of town,” Jinks said.”There’s a form they need to fill out to qualify.”

The absentee voter application is available from the cityclerk’s office, and Jinks said if you pick it up in person, it mustbe delivered in person. It can also be mailed to an applicant’saddress, he said.

“You can get one mailed to you, but if we mail it out, it has tobe mailed back,” Jinks said.

The ballot and application must be mailed separately, however,Jinks said.

“Some people think it would be a good idea to save a stamp andput them in the same envelope, but the application has to be openedand verified before we can open the ballot by law. If you send themin the same envelope, we have to throw it out,” he said.

The Brookhaven City Clerk’s office will be open the weeks ofMarch 30- April 3 and April 27-May 1 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and onSaturdays April 4 and April 25 from 8 a.m. until noon.

Jinks said anyone with questions about absentee ballots andqualifications can call the city clerk’s office at (601)833-2362.

Meanwhile, towns like Wesson that have no primary election havea little more lenient time frame, as they don’t start absenteevoting until April 20.

Wesson Town Clerk Linda Dykes said she expects turnout in WardTwo to be light since the race in that ward is unopposed, but thatusually there’s a pretty decent turnout for absentee voting.

“We have a variety, all ages we usually have a good turnout ofjust everybody who comes out and votes,” she said. “With Ward 2 nothaving anyone needing to vote in that ward. I expect that ward tobe light, but they may come in and voice their opinion anyway.”