Officials gearing up for 2010 elections

Published 7:45 pm Friday, February 19, 2010

Local, state and federal offices are all up for judgment by thepeople of Lincoln County in this year’s elections, with qualifyingdeadlines for some offices approaching fast.

Voters will head to the county’s 32 precincts on June 1 to decidetheir next representatives for the Third Congressional District,all judicial offices and one Lincoln County School Boardposition.

The primary election will be held June 1, with a run-off on June 22if necessary. This year’s general election falls on Nov. 2

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School board elections will be decided on the general electionballot only.

Incumbents in the offices up for election include:

– U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper, a Republican

– Mississippi 14th Circuit District judges Mike Taylor and DavidStrong

– Mississippi 15th Chancery District Judge Ed Patten

– Mississippi Court of Appeals

– Lincoln County School Board District Four Trustee MichaelPosey

Candidates for Congress must qualify by March 1, and all judicialcandidates must qualify by May 7.

Qualifying for the District Five school board position begins onAug. 4 and ends Sept. 3, and can be done at the Lincoln CountyCircuit Clerk’s office.

It’s still too early to tell, but the school board race could bewide open. District Five board member Michael Posey, who hasrecently battled health problems, said he has not yet decided if wewill seek reelection.

“I’m still kindly thinking about it,” he said. “I just don’t knowyet.”

Lincoln County Circuit Clerk Terry Lynn Watkins doubted voterturnout would equal the high-water mark set in the 2008presidential election, but she’s nonetheless expecting arespectable showing at the polls this year.

“We usually have a pretty good turnout because we elect our localjudges,” she said. “That usually generates a lot ofinterest.”

New voters and newcomers to Lincoln County must register to vote byMay 1 to be eligible to vote in the June 1 primary, the lastpossible date to register before the closing of the 30-day windowset by law, Watkins said.

Some already-registered voters may need to set their recordsstraight before May 1 as well.

Mike Byrne, chairman of the Lincoln County Election Commission,said voters who have moved around within the county need to visiteither the circuit clerk’s office or call the election commissionto have their new addresses verified. A voter’s address determinesprecinct, and voters who attempt to vote at the wrong precinct onElection Day will have to vote by affidavit ballot.

“We still need people who have moved to come in and give us theirnew addresses so we can make sure they get in the right precinct,”Byrne said. “We’re getting the voter rolls straightened out. Peopleare doing a better job letting us know they’re moving.”

District Four Election Commissioner Janie Sisco returned jurysummonses – a sure indicator of voters with inaccurate addresses -give the commission grounds to place voters on inactive rolls, butcommissioners had rather correct voters’ information than deny themparticipation in the elections.

“We don’t want anyone going to the polls and finding their namesinactive,” she said. “We can make it really easy for you.”

Voters who need to update their information may visit or call thecircuit clerk’s office at 601-835-3435 or the commission office at601-835-3452.