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Noon Saturday deadline to cast absentee ballots

[04/27/01] Vicksburg voters who want to be heard but can’t make it to polls Tuesday have until noon Saturday to cast absentee ballots at City Hall.

Mississippi law allows registered voters who will be away from their county of residence on the election day, those who are 65 or older or those who are physically disabled to vote in advance or by mail.

Mailed absentee ballots must be received by the clerk’s office by 5 p.m. Monday.

The latest count indicated 147 voters have cast ballots in advance of Tuesday’s party primaries. Poll books list 17,407 names as eligible voters.

Once received by city officials, absentee ballots remain sealed until polls close on election day. They are then scanned through polling machines at the precincts by precinct officials. To ensure that no one votes by absentee and again at the polls, the ballots are compared with poll books at the precinct by the precinct manager.

Violating the Mississippi Absentee Voter Law is a felony offense punishable by up to $5,000 and up to five years in jail.

There are three different ballots in the primary election. In the North Ward, the ballot includes both mayor and alderman candidates in the Democratic primary, but in the South Ward voters have to choose either a Democratic or Republican ballot.

The South Ward Republican ballot will have the names of Sidney H. Beauman Jr., 52, director of the city’s parks and recreation department, and restaurant manager Sam Smith, 37. Voters who choose the Republican ballot in the South Ward will have no say in the mayoral primary.

South Ward voters who choose the Democratic ballot will vote in alderman’s and mayor’s races. The names of Pam Johnson, 35, owner of a local hair salon, and Carl Marshall Upton, 41, a self-employed electrician, will appear on that ballot along with Eric Rawlings, 38, and incumbent Mayor Robert Walker, 56.

The winners in the alderman’s primary races will advance to the city’s general election and face independents Ashlea Mosley, 18, and Vickie Bailey, 33.

The winner in the mayor’s primary race will go on to face independent candidates Laurence Leyens, 37, Joe Loviza, 61, and Eva Marie Ford, 63, in the general election on June 5.

In the North Ward alderman’s race, two-term incumbent Gertrude Young, 45, is being challenged by business owner Rodney E. Dillamar, 41, and retired educator Jo Pratt, 67, in the Democratic primary. The names of the three North Ward candidates will appear on the same ballot with Rawlings’ and Walker’s.

The North Ward primary is the only contest where there is a possible runoff. If no candidate gets more than half the votes, the top two will meet again May 15.

There is no Republican primary in the North Ward and the winner will advance to face Sylvester Walker, 40, in the general election.