Now, it’s up to the voters

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 7, 2000

Warren County voters descended on the area’s 22 voting places Tuesday morning to cast ballots in a heavy turnout for this year’s presidential election.

“We had a line backed up all the way to the road this morning,” said Culkin Precinct Manager Marjorie Ameen.

Locally, results on the vote in Warren County will be available for the first time on the Internet on the District Attorney Gil Martin’s Web site, after the polls close. [See link at right.]

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Officially, more than 350 voters cast ballots at the Culkin precinct, the largest in the county, in the first hour after polls opened today. Polls in the county opened at 7 and will remain open until 7 p.m.

Jonathan Green, 21, and Victoria Green, 24, were among those early voters, casting ballots in their first presidential election.

“I tried to vote in the last election, but my ballot got messed up,” Victoria Green said.

At the Elks Lodge on U.S. 61 South, 25 people were lined up outside waiting for the chance to cast votes before the polls opened, said Precinct Manager Michael Lloyd.

“I think the presidential race is the most important because a change needs to be made,” said Wayne Clements, who was among early voters there.

In the first five minutes of voting, about 60 had run their ballots through the counting machine. The tally is secret until after polls close.

“Judging from the way it is this morning, it looks like it is going to be a heavy turnout,” Lloyd said.

By 7:38, 93 voters had cast ballots at the Calvary Baptist Church polls in Beechwood. There were no lines, but voting was steady.

“It has been going good,” said Precinct Manager Jean Sturgis. “People were waiting when we got here at 6:30.”

The number of voters at the Bovina precinct topped 120 before 8.

Voting was also brisk at the Vicksburg Auditorium, with 32 voters casting their ballots in the first 15 minutes of polling. Precinct Manager Carla Jones said the early counts compare favorably to previous years, and Mose Selmon, brother of District 3 Supervisor Charles Selmon, agreed.

“I always vote here at 7 o’clock, and I’ve never seen turnout like this,” Selmon said after casting his vote.

Hurrying to drop her son off at school before heading to work, Rosie Wince said she felt it was important to make time to make her voice heard.

“I always vote, because it’s my right,” Wince said.

At the American Legion hall, Precinct Manager Lurline Green said turnout was up because of the importance and closeness of the election.

“They were standing in line when we opened, and the weather’s good, so I hope it will stay busy,” Green said. By 7:30 a.m., 36 ballots had been cast.

Outside the American Legion hall, Mary Lou Halpin held a sign promoting Frank Vollor’s campaign, and said she had hoped for a higher turnout.

“For this time of day, we thought there would be more,” Halpin said. “It’s steady but slow.”

The number of eligible voters has grown in the county from 30,289 a year ago to 31,370 today. In the last presidential election in 1996, a record turnout was recorded in Warren County with 18,829 out of 26,000 registered voters casting ballots.

Mississippi voters also are deciding contests for Congress, the U.S. Senate seat held by Trent Lott, four Supreme Court posts and one Appeals Court job. Lott and Mississippi’s congressional incumbents were expected to win.

The most spirited race was in Mississippi’s 4th Congressional District, where GOP candidate Dunn Lampton, a prosecutor from McComb, challenged Democratic incumbent Ronnie Shows.

Mississippi has seven votes in the Electoral College because the state’s congressional delegation in Washington is composed of five representatives and two senators. Electors pledged to vote for the candidate of their party will meet after the election to cast ballots.