County’s voter rolls smaller than 2008

Published 11:44 pm Saturday, November 3, 2012

About 3 percent of Warren County’s electorate has cast a ballot for Tuesday’s general election while the rest head to the polls to vote for president, both houses of Congress and local races.

Circuit Clerk Shelly Ashley-Palmertree said lines have slowed in the courthouse in the weeks leading up to Election Day. Saturday was the final day to vote absentee at the circuit clerk’s office.

“We seemed to have slowed down a bit this week,” she said.

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Voter rolls showed 32,238 registered to vote in Warren County, according to the clerk’s office. That’s 1,011 more voters than what poll books showed during the primaries, but down about 13 percent since the 2008 presidential election cycle when 36,957 registered countywide.

Turnout in Warren County four years ago for president, federal offices and local races set a record for most ballots cast, at 21,573, or about 58 percent of registered voters. The turnout percentage record is 72 percent, set in 1996 when a presidential race was on the ballot with a special election for sheriff.

President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney headline the ballot for president. Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party, Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party, Jill Stein of the Green Party and Barbara Dale Washer of the Reform Party round out the list.

Republican nominees for president have carried Warren County the past 10 elections.

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, a Republican, is being challenged by Democrat Albert N. Gore Jr., Thomas Cramer of the Constitution Party and Shawn O’Hara of the Reform Party. Wicker won the seat in a 2008 special election.

U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, first elected in 1993, faces Republican Bill Marcy, Cobby Mondale Williams, an independent, and Lejena Williams of the Reform Party.

Locally, two candidates vie for the District 2 seat on the Vicksburg Warren School District Board of Trustees. Incumbent Zelmarine Murphy is seeking a fifth, six-year term on the five-member board and is being challenged by Alonzo Stevens, former head football coach at Vicksburg High.

Contested district-level races include those for three of five seats on the Warren County Election Commission and positions on the Mississippi Supreme Court and the state Court of Appeals.

On the commission, District 1 incumbent Petesy Smith faces Jan Whatley, a poll manager in the district. District 4 incumbent John Rundell faces Sara Carlson Dionne, a poll manager in the district. District 5 incumbent Lonnie Wooley faces Gordon Cordes, a retired engineer, and Robert Croisdale, an auto parts supply contractor.

District 2 Commissioner Retha Summers and District 3 Commissioner Elva Smith-Tolliver are unopposed.

For Supreme Court, Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. faces state Rep. Earle Banks, D-Jackson for the high court’s District 1, Place 1 slot. The district covers 22 counties in the central part of the state.

Justice Leslie D. King, who represents District 1, Place 2, is unopposed.

In the appeals court race, Judge Ermea J. Russell faces Vicksburg attorney Ceola James. The judgeship covers District 2, Place 2, and is spread over all or part of 24 counties on the state’s western half.