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Turnout lower than expected in local flag election

By By Ben Alexander/The Meridian Star
April 18, 2001
The massive wave of residents expected to vote on an official state flag Tuesday did not arrive at the polls, according to Lauderdale County Circuit Clerk Donna Jill Johnson.
When the last ballot boxes arrived at the county courthouse around 8:30 p.m., less than half of the county's registered voters had turned out for the highly publicized and controversial vote. The 17,888 votes represented only 45 percent of registered voters.
Given the opportunity to choose between the 1894 flag with the Confederate Battle Flag in its canton corner and a new flag design with 20 stars in the corner, local residents chose the traditional flag 11,507 to 6,381. The results showed county residents voted for the 1894 flag in line with the rest of the state 64 percent of the population voted to keep the historic flag, while 36 percent voted for the new design.
Overall Johnson said voting went smoothly with no major problems or complaints from those casting ballots.
Although record turnouts didn't come to pass as was predicted by many, Johnson said the almost 18,000 votes was a large number for only one issue being on the ballot.
Ben Alexander is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at balexander@themeridianstar.com.

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