Voters to make first choices in party primaries

Published 5:00 am Monday, May 4, 2009

After several uneventful months of campaigning by candidates,Brookhaven voters will make their first choices in the 2009Municipal Elections when they go to the polls for party primariesTuesday.

Voters will be deciding their party candidates for mayor,alderman at large and alderman of their individual wards. Someraces will be decided in the primaries – either Tuesday or duringrunoffs where needed on May 19 – while some race outcomes will notbe known until the June 2 general election.

Following an annexation in 2007, 2009 will be the firstopportunity for some voters to cast ballots in city elections. Forthose voters, and indeed everyone in the city, there are a fewimportant facts to remember.

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Voting will take place at polling places for city elections andnot at those places typically used for voting in county, state andfederal elections. A list of city polling places is printed nearbyand a Brookhaven map showing ward lines and voting places isincluded on Page 6A of today’s newspaper.

Also, as with other election party primaries, Brookhaven votersTuesday will have to decide whether they want to participate in theDemocratic primary or in the Republican primary. Voters will not beallowed to cast ballots in both primaries.

The Democratic primary ballot features contested partynomination races for mayor, alderman at large and in three of thecity’s six alderman wards: One, Two and Three. The only contestedraces on the Democratic ballot in Wards Four, Five and Six are formayor and alderman at large.

Tuesday’s Republican primary ballot includes a contestedcitywide race to decide the party’s nominee for alderman at large.The only other contested Republican race will be for alderman ofWard Four.

For some voters, the decision to vote in either the Democraticprimary or Republican primary is significant.

Those who choose to vote in the Republican primary will not havea say in deciding who will be the Democratic party’s nominee forthe city’s top elected office of mayor. Conversely, those who votein the Democratic primary will not be able to vote in theRepublican primary for alderman at large or, in Ward Four, in thecontested race to decide the GOP nominee for alderman.

It is also important to note that the names of Independentcandidates will not appear on Tuesday’s ballots. Those names willnot show up until the general election.

To help voters in making their choices in this year’s elections,The DAILY LEADER this past week has been running a series ofquestions and answers with the candidates. A majority of thecandidates responded to the newspaper’s questions, while a handfulopted not to participate.

Candidates’ responses should have provided voters with someenlightenment on their qualifications, ideas and goals for electedoffice. Voters would do well to weigh candidate responses and thenmake their decisions accordingly.

A well-informed electorate is vital to selecting quality leaderswho are responsive to citizens’ needs and who are prepared to guidethe city for the next four years and possibly beyond.

City polling places will be open Tuesday from 7 a.m. until 7p.m.

Go vote.