Voter registrations jump again

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A rush of mail-in registrations has added more voters to rolls in Warren County that have been growing in anticipation of Nov. 4 elections.

Updated statewide voter counts released by the Secretary of State’s Office show 37,012 total names registered in Warren County, up 313 since the Oct. 3 filing deadline. Rolls are about 3 percent higher since the party primaries in March and about 6 percent more than the 34,665 registrants for the 2004 general election. Statewide, voter rolls total 1,873,740.

Circuit Clerk Shelly Ashley-Palmertree said a flood of applications was received and verified from Mississippi voters such as college students and business travelers with Warren County addresses.

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“It was just the mad rush before the deadline,” Ashley-Palmertree said. “A lot of mail-in registrations.”

While predictions of higher turnout are common before a presidential election, Ashley-Palmertree said this year’s forecast indicates a “massive turnout” that could translate into “one of the biggest elections we’ve had in a while.”

Warren County has 22 voting precincts. Culkin, the county’s largest, shows 5,996 voters, or about one-sixth of the local electorate. Vicksburg Junior High is the largest precinct inside the city, with 2,981.

The deadline to cast absentee ballots at the Circuit Clerk’s Office is noon Nov. 1. Mail-in absentee ballots must be received by 5 p.m. Nov. 3 and must be witnessed and notarized before sealing. Voters are advised to use two postage stamps to ensure timely delivery due to the size and weight of envelopes enclosing the ballot and application.

About 56.8 percent of Warren County’s electorate cast ballots in 2004, just less than the 58 percent nationally. A little more than 1.1 million people voted in Mississippi in 2004.

Local turnout in last year’s state- and county-level elections was 36 percent, which was down 12 percentage points from the 2003 state election cycle. In federal primary voting, local turnout was 26 percent, with Democratic turnout going up more than seven-fold.

Other federal races in Warren County include candidates for both U.S. Senate seats and the 2nd District race in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Sen. Thad Cochran, a Republican, is opposed by Democrat and former state Rep. Erik Fleming, while Sen. Roger Wicker, a Republican, is opposed by Democrat and former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove. Because  theirs is a special election to fill the unexpired term of former Sen. Trent Lott, party affiliations of Wicker and Lott will not be on the ballot. U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Democrat, is opposed by Jackson teacher Richard Cook, a Republican.

Judicial races include the District 1 Position 3 post on the Mississippi Supreme Court and District 2 Position 2 on the state Court of Appeals.

Incumbent and Chief Justice Jim Smith is opposed by Crystal Springs attorney Jim Kitchens and former Chancery Court Judge Ceola James of Vicksburg. Incumbent Leslie D. King is unopposed for the appellate post.

Local elections will include seats representing Districts 3 and 4 on the Vicksburg Warren School District Board of Trustees and five spots on the Warren County Election Commission.

For school trustee from District 3, incumbent Betty Tolliver is challenged by former bank executive Jim Stirgus Jr. In District 4, the candidates are former Vicksburg mayor Joe Loviza, substitute teacher Katrina Johnson and land surveyor Kimble Slaton.

Four are unopposed for spots on the election board, including former county supervisor Patricia “Petesy” Smith in District 1 and incumbents Retha L. Summers in District 2, John Rundell in District 4 and Gordon Carr in District 5. No candidate qualified in District 3.


Contact Danny Barrett Jr. at

Voter registrations in Warren County   

2004 general election                  34,665

2007 state and county election    35,456

2008 federal primary                    35,746

2008 general election                  37,012