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Absentee vote begins today in primaries

Absentee voting for Brookhaven primary elections begins today, primaries that will decide the final winner of several races.

Registered city voters may cast an absentee ballot at the city clerk’s office or may request an absentee ballot be mailed to them.

Absentee voting will continue up through May 4 for party primaries scheduled to occur May 7. Primary voters must vote in either the Republican or Democratic primary and cannot vote in races on both ballots.

County electronic voting machines will be used in this year’s municipal elections, and Lincoln County Circuit Clerk Dustin Bairfield has been assisting City Clerk Mike Jinks with election preparations.

Bairfield said he is concerned the redistricting of city ward lines may lead to confusion among voters who have been placed into different wards.

“I do see that to be a big issue,” Bairfield said.

To help alleviate potential voter confusion on election day, Bairfield’s office is preparing to send out updated voter registration cards to every city resident.

“Look and verify your ward,” advised the circuit clerk.

He also hopes the cards will enable the city to begin cleaning up voter registration rolls.

“The ones that come back and there’s no forwarding address, those people will be listed as inactive,” Bairfield said.

With no Republicans in the race, the winners of the Democratic primary in Ward One and Ward Three will face no opposition in the general election.

In Ward One, incumbent Dorsey Cameron seeks to fend off challenges from Randy Belcher, Robert Berry, Christopher Harris and Kermit Sartin.

In Ward Three, incumbent Mary Wilson faces opposition from Lennie Lewis-Bracey and Ramon Johnson.

The Republican ballot will also decide the final winner in a few races, because there are no Democrats seeking the office of alderman in Ward Four or Five.

In Ward Four, Danny Keene hopes to oust incumbent Shirley Estes. Ward Five features no incumbent and sees Fletcher Grice and Martha Arrington vying to take the seat.

For the office of mayor, Democrat voters will select either David Douglas Smith III or Joe Poole as their general election candidate.

The winner will face Republican Joe Cox and independents Rose “Polly” Powell and D.W. Maxwell.

Democrats must also choose between Bobby Bell and Larry “Big Dog” Warren for police chief. The Democratic primary victor will face off against Republican Ted Goleman in the general election.

Two candidates are competing to earn the Democratic nod in Ward Six: David McCoy and Mackie Gipson.

One of the two will face incumbent David Phillips, an independent.

Republicans must choose a candidate for alderman at large. Incumbent Karen Sullivan faces a primary challenge from Carl Aycock.

The winner will run against Democrat Andre’ Spiller and independent Ed Thompson in the general election.

Incumbent city clerk Michael Jinks will breeze through the primaries with no opposition and face Democratic challenger Maxine McCoy Jones in the general election.

In Ward Two, incumbent Terry Bates faces no primary or general election opponents.