Meridian Star

May 1, 2013

Strong absentee voting so far

By Terri Ferguson Smith / tsmith@themeridianstar.com
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     Absentee voting for the upcoming city elections is under way at Meridian City Hall. As of mid-afternoon on Tuesday, a total of 553 people had cast absentee ballots. Some of those votes were cast at City Hall; others include ballots that have been mailed out to disabled voters who cannot go to the polls.

    Of those, 309 were cast for Democratic candidates and 244 were cast for Republican candidates. A total of 257 absentee ballots were cast in the city's primary elections four years ago.

    The elections, scheduled for next Tuesday are for party primaries. Jeff Tate, chairman of the Lauderdale County Election Commission, which is assisting the city of Meridian in holding the elections, said voters will have to declare on Tuesday whether they want to vote as a Democrat or a Republican.

    A voter cannot change parties in the runoff election, Tate said, but if a voter doesn't vote in the primary but wishes to vote in the runoff, he or she may do so and can vote for either party.

In the general election, voters do not declare a party.

    "There some confusion by some voters who think they have to register as a Democrat or a Republican. They do not," Tate said. "When we print the Republican and Democratic poll books, every registered voter's name is on that list."

    The primaries will be held Tuesday; a runoff, if necessary, will be held May 21 and the general election will be held June 4.

    Independent candidates for mayor and city council will not be in the primaries or runoffs. Their names will appear on the ballot for the general election.