Meridian Star

Local News

November 7, 2012

Presidential race boosts voter turnout

MERIDIAN —     High voter turnout was seen in Lauderdale County Tuesday.

    Jeff Tate, Lauderdale County District 5 election commissioner, said about 30,000 of just over 44,000 registered voters were expected to have cast ballots.

    Prior to Tuesday about 3,400 absentee ballots were cast.

    Tate said voting problems were minimal throughout the day.

    "There have been a few machine problems, nothing that we don't experience every election year," Tate said. "The main thing is the 7 to 8 o'clock morning rush we have with voters. There were some lines. Other than that everything has been going smoothly. Everything has been great."

    Tate said on average 50 percent more voters turn out for presidential elections here.

    Weighing heavily on the minds of most local voters interviewed by The Star, was the economy. Health care was another issue identified by voters. Some simply expressed relief that the long election process was finally drawing to a close.

    Shar Hinton, 30, voted at the Temple Theater on Tuesday.

    "I voted for President Barack Obama. He actually seems to care about people," she said. "He has genuine concern for them. There is no one particular issue that I care about in this campaign. I care about them all, and I support what President Obama is saying regarding them."

    Rosene Brown, a voter at Trinity Lutheran Church, said both health care and the economy were major concerns for her. She voted for Mitt Romney.

    "Those of us that are over the age of 65, we won't have a chance with Obamacare. They're just going to tell us how to die. We won't be able to receive the medical care that we want or need. There's other issues in that Obamacare that was passed that people aren't aware of. There are just too many things in it that aren't good for our nation, even the younger people."

    Miriam Miller, age 40, is also concerned about health care. She voted for Obama at the Council of Organizations Building.

    "I feel there will continue to be change under his leadership," she said. "Health care is very important to me, and health insurance is a number one priority."

    MIles Hough is 18 years old. Tuesday was his first time to vote. He cast his ballot for Romney.

    "What I'm most concerned about is the economy," he said. "It's going down and the more we go into debt, it's going to later affect me and people my age. It's affecting people now as it is. It worries a lot of people and I think we really need to make a change for sure."

    L.J. Fruge also voted for Romney at Trinity Lutheran Church, because, he said: "I'm a business owner so obviously the economy and being able, willing to risk my money to expand my business, making sure the regulations are cut down, making sure the taxes are cut down."

    Leslie Nelson, who voted Tuesday at the Lauderdale Baptist Association in Marion, said he voted for Obama because he sees the economy improving.

    "I think it's started to go in the right direction and I think we're coming out of the recession. If everything had worked out earlier, I think that things would have been a lot better. It's improving some."

    Along with the presidential race, Lauderdale County voters cast ballots for U.S. Representative and U.S. Senate races. Lauderdale County voters also had a choice between Mississippi Supreme Court Justice William L. Waller Jr., serving the state's Central District, Position One post, and his opponent Earle S. Banks.

    Supreme Court Justice Leslie D. King, Central District, Position Two, ran unopposed.

    Candidates seeking school board posts for the Lauderdale County School District ran unopposed, Pam Frazier, the incumbent in District 3, and Fredie V. Carmichael Jr., for the District  4 position.

    County Election Commissioners on the ballot also ran unopposed.

    Two of the previously elected candidates did not seek re-election.

    Reuben Little in District 4 resigned earlier this year. The Board of Supervisors appointed Gloria Dancy to fill his unexpired term.

    Rod Amos, District 2 Election Commissioner, did not seeking re-election.

    Evelyn W. Acklin ran for that post.

    Other commissioners are Wallace Heggie, District 1; Awana Daniels Simmons, District 3; and Jeff Tate, District 5.

    Terri Ferguson Smith, Ida Brown, and Steve Gillespie contributed to this article.

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