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franklin county times

Voting heavy and smooth in Lauderdale County Tuesday

By By Georgia Frye and Steve Gillespie / staff writers
November 3, 2004
Lauderdale County voters cast ballots on Tuesday in the biggest Election Day turnout in nine years.
Voting was steady throughout the day. Some people were waiting in line to vote as early as 30 minutes before the polls opened at 7 a.m.; few problems were reported at voting precincts.
Wanda Horne, a poll worker for the Willow Ridge Apartments voting precinct, said she saw more voter turnout by 1 p.m. Tuesday than she saw all day in the last presidential election in November 2000.
Hollye Lang, who voted at the Mississippi State University-Meridian Campus precinct, said she decided which candidate she would support after the last presidential debate. She said every eligible voter should have cast ballots.
New voters
Nationwide, this year's election saw millions of new voters. Lauderdale County alone had more than 2,000 new registered voters, Lauderdale County Election Commissioner Ann Watts said.
Amber Phillips, 26, a student at Meridian Community College, was one of the newest voters in the county. She stopped by MSU-Meridian Campus and voted for the first time.
Wayne Harrison agreed.
Harrison, 31, is a student at MSU-Meridian. He said he is concerned about the future because he has a wife and child, and he wants what is best for them.
Precinct problems
Melba Clark, chairman of the Lauderdale County Democratic Executive Committee, said two small voting problems were brought to her attention and were quickly corrected by the county election commission.
Clark said one incident involved a ballot at the Collinsville precinct that was not accepted by the voting machine. She said another problem involved a woman whose name was not on the voting rolls.
Sally Brown, chairman of the Lauderdale County Republican Executive Committee, said she knew of no problems with the election. She said she visited about six precincts.
Lauderdale County Circuit Clerk Donna Jill Johnson said the voting machine at the Culpepper precinct was experiencing paper jams due to moisture in the air. That problem also was corrected.
Johnson also said all three telephone lines rang constantly in her office from the time the polls opened at 7 a.m.
By 2:30 p.m., she said she had at least 500 calls from people not sure where they were supposed to vote or from people who had moved since the last election and were now in a different precinct.

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