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Few problems at county polls

By By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
Nov. 6, 2002
Voting in Lauderdale County went relatively smooth Tuesday.
The few minor difficulties that arose for election commissioners mostly had to do with the wet weather.
In the East Marion voting precinct, Ed Walker, District 2 election commissioner, said areas had to be blocked off to keep motorists from getting stuck in the mud.
Tuesday morning at Mt. Gilead Baptist Church the electronic precinct counting machine jammed and wouldn't accept ballots. Poll workers had to use an emergency ballot box.
Ann Hall, District 5 election commissioner said that problem was also attributed to moisture in the air. She said the roll of paper that prints the vote count stuck together and jammed the machine.
Technicians replaced the paper roll and the machine reportedly worked fine. Hall said the problem will have no effect on the ballots cast.
Hall, who put about 130 miles on her car between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. after checking polling places in the 17 precincts in her district, said the turnout was good in her territory.
The rain was blamed for low turnout at Oakland Heights Elementary School, however, where only 290 ballots out of 1,200 were cast by 3:30 p.m.
Poll workers there said the largest turnout up to that point had been after the rain subsided between 10 a.m. and noon.
Joyce Moore, ballot receiving and retrieving manager for the election commission at Oakland Heights, said there is a high elderly population in the precinct. Poll workers speculated they stayed in because of the weather.
The voter turnout remained steady throughout the day at Meridian High School according to poll workers there. By 4:30 p.m., 664 ballots had been cast out of 1,500 and 102 absentee ballots were submitted.
Based on the phone calls fielded by Lauderdale County Circuit Clerk Donna Jill Johnson and her staff. The overall voter turnout was good.
The phones in her office rang non-stop.