Citizens picking party nominees in contests

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, May 5, 2009

City employee Buddy Thibodeaux said this election isn’t justabout exercising his civic duty, it’s almost about his quality oflife for the next four years.

“It affects us city workers tremendously,” he said. “Thedecisions made today and in June will affect city workers for thenext four years.”

Thibodeaux was on his way from the Ward Six poll, where he waswaiting on a co-worker to vote, to the Ward Five poll where hewould be casting his ballot.

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“It’s important to vote to make the community a better place,”said fellow firefighter Temarcus Lewis. “We want to put good peoplein office because the leadership affects the city’s day-to-daylife.”

Lewis and Thibodeaux were among the early risers who made it tothe polls before 8:30 on Tuesday to vote in the municipalelections. Poll workers across the city reported a somewhat slowcrowd early, but expected it to pick up throughout the day.

“We’ve had seven to vote so far,” said Ward Five poll workerDorothy Lofton. “If we have seven more every hour, that’s how manywe’ll have.”

Argie Dixon, who also was manning the polls at Ward Five, saidher opinion on those who don’t turn out to vote is that they don’thave the right to fuss when the election is over.

“If you don’t vote, don’t complain,” she said.

Citywide, poll workers reported no problems with the voting,saying so far people seem to have understood their civic duties andhave been able to fill out the ballots without much trouble.

Ward One poll worker Annie Robinson said there was almost aglitch at her poll when she couldn’t find her car keys and thepolls box was in her car. She was almost late, but made it by 7a.m., she said.

“I was so worried because I didn’t know where my keys were, andI thought there would be a lot of people here waiting on me,” shesaid. “There weren’t, but Mr. (Republican Temporary MunicipalChairman Dennis) Valentine was.”

Ward Three’s poll workers said it had been a quiet morning. Theyhad their first Republican voter showed up at 7:35 to cast hisballot, but they said they had people waiting to vote Democrat whenthe polls opened at 7 a.m.

Don Underwood said he has voted every election he can remembersince 1974.

“It was the year I registered for the draft and I registered tovote,” he said. “Why it’s important – you can run down a listthere. It’s the type of government we’ve got, and if we don’tparticipate in it, it won’t work.”

And Lofton had another reason it’s a privilege to vote.

“It’s about the only thing we can do without asking anymore,”she said, laughing. “And they don’t go up on the prices.”

Tuesday’s elections continue through 7 p.m.

After the polls close, workers will count ballots at the wardlevel and then bring election material to the city clerk’s officefor final tabulation. Winners will be determined, as well aswhether or not there will be runoffs.

Primaries are being held today for both the Democrats and theRepublicans in the alderman at large race. Democratic primaryvoters are also choosing the party’s nominee for mayor.

Democratic primaries were held for aldermen in Wards One, Twoand Three, with a primary for Republican alderman in Ward Four.Ward Five and Six did not hold primaries for alderman as thecandidates in each party were uncontested and will meet in the June2 general election.

The names of Independent candidates are not listed on today’sballots. Those candidates’ names will not appear on ballots untilthe general election.

The general election will be held June 2, with new city leaderstaking their offices in July.