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General election registration deadline near

Lincoln County’s new residents and fresh 18-year-olds have untilSaturday to visit the courthouse and register to vote, or thisyear’s general election will pass them by.

But judging by the horrible turnout for the primary election inJune, voters new and old may be OK with sitting this one out,too.

The Lincoln County Circuit Clerk’s office will be open from 8 a.m.until noon on Oct. 2, the last day new voters can register to votein the Nov. 2 general election. But with only two contested raceson the ballot this year – and only one of those a local race – neweligible voters haven’t exactly been beating down the clerk’s doorto sign up for their civic responsibility.

“There hasn’t been a big push or anything. Just the normal amountof people coming in,” said Circuit Clerk Terry Lynn Watkins. “Idon’t foresee a real big turnout, but man, I hope they prove mewrong.”

The election is still one month away, but so far it looks likeLincoln County voters will have another “who cares” moment inNovember, hopefully not one as lackadaisical as on June 22, whenonly 347 of more than 24,000 registered voters – 1.5 percent -turned out to mark a ballot in this year’s primary election.

With six of the eight races on this year’s ballot uncontested, theexcitement of the 2008 presidential election, when more than 16,000county voters turned out, is long gone.

“There’s not really anything on the ballot that’s hotly contested,”Watkins said.

Unfortunately, the one hotly contested race on the November ballotis for a seat on the Lincoln County Election Commission, alow-profile position the voting populace usually doesn’t fullyunderstand or just doesn’t care about.

The special election for the District Three commission seatfeatures four candidates vying to take over for the late BennonCase, who passed away on June 22. Gloria Brown, Barbara Davis,Rachel Cole Gatlin and Mike Walley are competing for the vote.Brown ran for the same seat against Case in 2008, losing by a voteof 2,202-1,042.

“That race is going to be a toss-up and it’s going to be whoevergets their people out to vote,” Watkins predicted. “Each candidateis strong in a different area of District Three. That might turnout to be kind of interesting.”

The only other contested race on the November ballot is the big one- the race for the Mississippi 3rd Congressional District.Incumbent Republican Gregg Harper is facing Democratic challengerJoel Gill and Reform Party candidate Tracella Lou O’Hara Hill forthe right to represent Mississippi in the U.S. House ofRepresentatives.

The remaining races on the ballot are all shoo-ins for incumbentsrunning unopposed.

Michael Posey will hold onto the District Five seat on the LincolnCounty School Board, and judges Michael Taylor and David Strongwill return to the bench as circuit court judges in District 14 inPlace One and Place Two, respectively.

Judge Edward Patten will cruise into another term as chancery judgein District 15, and Judge Joe Lee will return to the Court ofAppeals in District Four, Position Two. Likewise, Judge JessDickinson will continue on as a justice on the Mississippi SupremeCourt in District Two, Position One.