Deadline is noon today to cast absentee ballots

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 1, 2008

Voting-age residents in Warren, Sharkey and Issaquena counties have until noon today to cast absentee ballots in the Nov. 4 general election.

Personnel in all three circuit clerk’s offices will be on hand to process and notarize the ballots in advance of Tuesday’s voting for president, both houses of Congress and local races including the Vicksburg Warren School District Board of Trustees and the Warren County Election Commission.

For additional election coverage, click here

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Predictions of a record turnout locally and across the state have followed consistently higher voter registration totals from the Secretary of State’s Office this month.

Updated counts released this week showed more than 20,000 people registered to vote in Mississippi since an earlier total reported two weeks ago. Rolls now equal 1,893,786. For the year, 189,817 new voters have registered, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

Ballots cast from active duty military personnel after an Oct. 21 deadline and individual counties keying in names well after the Oct. 3 registration deadline added to the new tally, said Secretary of State’s Office spokesman Pamela Weaver.

Locally, voter rolls have varied only slightly during the month. Warren County has 36,957 voters, down 55 from earlier this month but still up about 3 percent from the March primary and about 6 percent over 2004. Claiborne County rolls show 8,361, Sharkey 4,680 and Issaquena 1,646.

About 56.8 percent of Warren County’s electorate cast ballots in the 2004 election cycle, just less than the 58 percent nationally. Statewide, a little more than 1.1 million voted four years ago.

Mississippi is not considered one of about a dozen “tossup” states in the race for the White House. Poll averages have showed Republican John McCain ahead of Democrat Barack Obama in the state — bucking a trend seen in recent surveys taken in states such as Virginia and North Carolina. Like Mississippi, those states have consistently voted for the GOP in presidential races since 1980. 

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.

U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, a Republican, is opposed by Democrat and former state Rep. Erik Fleming. Sen. Roger Wicker, a Republican, is opposed by Democrat and former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove in 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.

In the House race, 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.

In Issaquena, Sharkey and Claiborne counties, voters will make choices in the federal and judicial races, plus local races for coroner, school board and election commission.

Larry Clegg and Angela Williams, both independents, are vying for coroner in a special election to fill the final three years of former Issaquena coroner Sissy Boyd, who resigned in July. All candidates for election commissioner posts are unopposed, Jimmy C. Newman, Dale Heigle, Annie B. Johnson, Connie McQuary and Reid Monteith.

In Sharkey County, Melvin S. Young is unopposed for a seat on the school board in District 2. Kelly Perry, D.W. Johnson, Catherine B. Norris, Paul A. Alford and Mary Frances Smith are all unopposed for the election commission.

In Claiborne County, Josie McClorine is unopposed for a seat on the school board in District 5. Eddie Kinnard Sr., James Gray, Gary Knight, Johnny Hughes and Corey Johnson are all unopposed for the election commission.


Contact Danny Barrett Jr. at