Precincts busy across Vicksburg|[6/07/05]

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 7, 2005

From staff reports

Polling places across the city were busy this morning as voters began casting ballots in the municipal election.

To be decided today are the city’s mayor and two aldermen posts. Polls will be open until 7 p.m.

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Turnout in the first half-hour of voting today was about twice the number from the primary election a month ago when 4,298 people voted. About 18,380 voters are registered in the city and about 8,280 people voted in the mayor’s election four years ago.

Poll managers observing the early numbers today said they expect turnout to be about the same as 2001.

“It’s a pretty day and if it doesn’t rain I think it’s going to be good,” said Carla Jones, poll manager at City Auditorium.

About 25 ballots had been cast in the first 20 minutes after they opened the doors there and about 26 ballots were cast in the first hour of voting at the Warren Central Junior High School precinct.

The weather forecast this morning was calling for scattered showers and thunderstorms this afternoon.

As of 7:25 this morning, 26 people had cast ballots at the Kings voting precinct. Precinct Manager Janice Winters said she expects that number to grow.

“I’m looking for a big turnout today,” Winters said.

Voter turnout at the Elks Lodge precinct was lighter than usual, poll manager Michael Lloyd said this morning. Sixty-nine voters had cast votes by 7:40 a.m.

“I thought it would be a little heavier than this,” Lloyd said. “We’re ready for them, though.”

The Porters Chapel United Methodist Church precinct had what poll manager Roy Campbell called a good turnout for a precinct of its size. There were 65 votes cast in the first hour of voting, and by 10:05, 170 had cast ballots.

“We’ve had a real good turnout – I expected this for the general election,” he said. “We’re a small precinct – this is good for us. We’ll continue to have a good turnout if the weather holds.”

At the No. 7 Fire Station 10 votes were cast in the first 10 minutes, and poll worker John Smith is predicting a big turnout.

“It’s going to be big,” Smith said.

On the ballot today for mayor are incumbent Laurence Leyens, 41, and former Mayor Joe Loviza, 65, both independents, and Democrat Charles Selmon, 44, and Republican Shirley Smollen, 69. The winner will be the candidate with the most votes at the end of the day. A majority is not required.

For North Ward are Vickie Bailey, 37, and Tommie Rawlings, 42, both independents, and Democratic nominee Michael Mayfield, 47. In the South Ward race are incumbent Sid Beauman, 57, a Republican, and Democrat Pam Johnson, 39.

Returns will be carried live on RCTV 23, WQBC 1420 AM and online at