Polls open tomorrow from 7 to 7

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 30, 2001

Bill Ford, the city’s information system specialist, shows the results of a software program that will allow Tuesday’s primary election results to be broadcast live on cable channel 23. (The Vicksburg Post/MELANIE DUNCAN)

[04/27/01] In a first for Vicksburg, live results of Vicksburg’s primary voting will be available to cable TV customers and Internet users.

Bill Ford, a veteran of radio and television work in Mississippi and the city’s information systems specialist, said the results will be on cable channel 23 and on the city’s Web site as numbers come in after the polls close.

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“The availability of information to the public will be better than anything before,” Ford said.

Vicksburg Video customers who have access to channel 23 will be able to turn on their sets after polls close at 7 p.m., and see numbers in the city’s four primary races and a live picture from City Hall.

The cable channel was given to city officials as part of a conversion by Vicksburg Video to make more channels available. Ford has been its chief programmer.

Most of the time, it offers home safety tips and information about city services. Public meetings are also transmitted live and on tape. Ford has also prepared several feature stories about city employees and events.

Local radio stations WBBV 101.3 FM and WQBC 1420 AM will also carry live coverage from City Hall of results after the polls close.

The National Weather Service is predicting a good day for voting clear skies with highs in the 80s.

City Clerk Walter Osborne said that about the same number of voters have cast absentee ballots for this election as did in the 1997 primary election.

The latest count indicated 225 voters had cast ballots in advance of Tuesday’s party primaries. Poll books list 17,407 names as eligible voters, about 1,400 more than in 1997.

“I figure that we’ll have about the same number (in the primary) that we had four years ago,” Osborne said.

In the 1997 city primary election, 5,722, or about 36 percent of the eligible voters, went to the polls.

Tuesday, South Ward voters must choose either a Democratic or Republican ballot. In the North Ward, there will be only one ballot, which includes alderman and mayor candidates.

In the first round of voting for the city’s highest elected office, the names of 38-year-old Eric Rawlings and incumbent Mayor Robert Walker, 57, will appear on the Democratic ballots.

The candidate with the most votes at the end of Tuesday’s voting will advance to face three independents in the June 5 general election.

In the North Ward primary, three candidates’ names will appear on the Democratic ballot for that ward’s alderman’s post. If none of the candidates gets a majority of the vote, at least 50 percent plus one, a runoff will be on May 15.

Incumbent Gertrude Young, 45, will have to get by business owner Rodney E. Dillamar, 41, and retired educator Jo Pratt, 67, to have a shot at a third term in office.

On the Democrat ballot in the South Ward, Pam Johnson, 35, owner of a local hair salon, will face Carl Marshall Upton, 41, a self-employed electrician, for a spot on the general election ballot. Voters who choose that ballot also have a say in the mayoral primary.

On the Republican ballot, candidates Sidney H. Beauman Jr., 53, director of the city’s parks and recreation department, and restaurant manager Sam Smith, 37, will appear. Republican voters have no say in the mayoral primary.

Independent candidates for mayor Eva Marie Ford, 63, Laurence Leyens, 37, and Joe Loviza, 61, will appear on the general election ballot next month along with the winner of Tuesday’s primary.

The winner of the North Ward primary will face independent Sylvester Walker, 40, in the general election. In the South Ward primaries, both winners will advance to the city’s general election and face independents Vickie Bailey, 33, assistant director of the city’s Department of Youth Services, and Ashlea Mosley, 18.

To win a general election, no majority is needed. The top vote-getters will get four-year terms.