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Heavy turnout reported across Warren County

At Warren Central Junior High School, the polling place for voters in the Vicksburg Junior High School precinct, about 15 people waited in line before the polls opened at 7 a.m., said poll manager Fred Shields. About 140 people had cast ballots within the first hour.

“(The weather) may cut into it a little, but not too much,” Shields said. “This is the grandaddy of elections.”

About 20 people waited for the polls to open at the City Auditorium where about 112 had voted in the first hour.

At St. Aloysius about 12 waited in line this morning and about 22 ballots were cast in the first half hour, said poll manager Sophia Smith.

At the Yokena precinct, about 30 voters were in line at about 7:05 a.m.

The House candidates are Clinton B. LeSueur, 35, the Republican challenger; Shawn O’Hara, 46, of the Reform Party; and the incumbent, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss., 56. LeSueur carried Warren County two years ago and was expected to do so again today. All or part of 22 counties make up the district.

The candidates for one Supreme Court seat are “Richard” Ray Grindstaff, 43, and incumbent William L. Waller, 52.

For the other judicial seat, the candidates are incumbent James E. Graves Jr., Ceola James, Samac S. Richardson, 57, and William L. Skinner, 45.

Five people are seeking to represent District 1 on the Vicksburg Warren School District Board of Trustees, and the top vote-getter wins the office. The candidates are Jerry A. Boland, 45; Steven Elwart, 51; Shawn McKeever, 33; Bryan Pratt, 36; and Brenda Theriot, 52.

The two candidates in District 5 are Joanne Gibbs, 48, and Tommy Shelton, 51.

Both school board seats were vacated by resignations, and neither interim appointee is seeking election. School-board members serve staggered six-year terms.

Election commissioners are elected for four-year terms in presidential election years.

Warren County has one contested election-commission race, in District 3. Lurline Green, 57, and Patricia Reed, 25, are the candidates for the post. The incumbent, LaShondra Stewart, is not seeking re-election.

Commissioners Johnny Brewer, 67; Retha Summers, 57; and Gordon Carr, 81; are unopposed for re-election from districts 1, 2 and 5 respectively.

No one is seeking the District 4 position in the general election. Serving in that post is Bill Lauderdale, 57, who was appointed to fill the unexpired term of James McMullin, who died in office.

Secretary of State Eric Clark predicts voter turnout will top 1 million for the first time in state history. Mississippi has about 1.8 million registered voters, but rolls are inflated in 34 of the 82 counties. Clark cited intense interest in the presidential race as the basis for his prediction of heavy turnout. He said his office will be open before the polls open and after they close to field questions or complaints.

Today’s election is also the first under a limited voter-identification law in Mississippi. Only voters who registered by mail after Jan. 1, 2003, and are voting in their first federal election are to be required to present identification.