Voters turn out early in election
VOTE TODAY – Stephanie Earley casts her vote shortly after her polling place opened today at Poplar Springs Elementary School in north Meridian. She is one of thousands of Mississippi voters expected to vote in an assortment of races. Polls close at 7 p.m. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By William F. West / community editor
Nov. 5, 2002
Rainy weather didn't keep Meridian residents from showing up to vote today.
More than a half-dozen people were lined up to vote at Poplar Springs Elementary School before the 7 a.m. opening of the polling station.
Voters at the school said they believed Republican U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering will defeat Democratic U.S. Rep. Ronnie Shows for the right to represent a redrawn 3rd Congressional District.
Ralph Young, 59, an attorney, cited a poll released last weekend by the Associated Press and Emmerich Newspapers.
The poll showed Pickering ahead of Shows, 54 percent to 27 percent with the rest either undecided, declining to disclose their preference or split among four other, little-known candidates.
Pickering, of Laurel and the current 3rd District congressman, and Shows, of Bassfield and the current 4th District congressman, are pitted against each other as a result of redistricting.
Pickering also had support from North Meridian voters, with one citing his politically conservative views.
Dave Hammes, 50, a flight simulator instructor for Lockheed Martin Corp., who voted at Poplar Springs Elementary, said he wants the U.S. House to remain in Republican control.
At the Meridian High School gym, another polling place, more than 30 people had voted by 7:30 a.m. Earline Wall, 72, has been a volunteer poll worker at the MHS station for about 20 to 25 years.
James Buford, 55, a retired electrical worker from Jackson, was quietly seated at a nearby table a poll watcher for Mississippi Democrats. He said he is supporting Shows despite the poll numbers.
Annette Wimberly, 53, director of the Meridian Speech and Hearing Center, was one of more than 20 who voted at the Fire Station this morning. Wimberly said she isn't putting stock in the polling numbers.
Wimberly was referring to the Pickering-Shows contest and the Court of Appeals race between incumbent Jim Brantley of Madison and Kenny Griffis of Ridgeland, a Meridian native.
Wimberly said people should grab their umbrellas and vote.