Strong voter turnout seen early

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, June 2, 2009

City elections are at the forefront of a lot of people’s mindstoday, bringing voters out in force to vote in, among other things,a wide-open mayor’s race.

With an alderman at large race and three ward alderman postsalso up for grabs, poll workers are expecting the flow to continuethroughout the day.

“It’s going to be a long day,” said Ward Six poll worker NellineReed.

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Dot Lofton Terry, a Ward Five poll worker, indicated a strongturnout just after polls opened at 7 a.m.

“People have been voting out here all morning,” she said.

Ward Four’s precinct at Brookhaven Elementary School was just ascrowded, and poll workers were taking their jobs seriously as asteady stream of voters filed in to cast their ballots in what somepeople consider a pivotal election.

Yet those at the polls greeted voters with a smile Tuesdaymorning, as though a long night of counting wouldn’t closely followthe long day of fielding voters. City Clerk Mike Jinks said workersin his office were also looking forward to a long day.

“It’s going to be a long day for sure,” he said. “I was here at6:30 a.m. and I’ll be here until 12:30 tonight.”

Jinks said as of 8:30 a.m. Tuesday some wards were reportingupwards of 100 voters already.

In Ward Three, the home ward of mayoral candidate Jerry Wilson,the alderman race is already decided. His wife Mary won re-electionto the seat in the May 5 Democratic primary.

Still, there was a large turnout Tuesday morning, with pollwatchers reporting almost 70 voters by 8:30 a.m. By 10:30, thevoter total was up to around 122.

Wilson is facing current Alderman at large Les Bumgarner, anIndependent candidate, in the race for mayor. Democrat Ronnie Bassand Republican Karen Sullivan are vying for the right to succeedBumgarner as alderman at large.

The mayor’s position was left open by Mayor Bob Massengill’sdecision to retire after five years in office.

Wards One, Two and Three chose their aldermen in the Democraticprimary, with Dorsey Cameron, Terry Bates and Mary Wilson winningre-election. Meanwhile, today, between 10 and 10:30 Wards One andTwo had 60 voters and 66 voters, respectively.

But Wards Four, Five and Six are all on the table and should bedecided today. Ward Four, Jinks said, had about 120 voters by 8:30a.m.

Jinks said the ballots will be counted at the polls after theyclose at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Meanwhile, poll workers today reported very few problems, inspite of issues with affidavit ballots in the primary. Hopefully,it will stay that way, said one civic servant.

“We hope there aren’t going to be any problems today,” said WardFive poll worker Annie Wilcher. “We’ve prayed about it.”