Extended voter registration hours

Published 12:49 am Sunday, March 29, 2009

The City of Picayune will hold extended voter registration hours this week.

From Monday to Thursday, city residents wishing to register to vote in the primary election for city offices can do so at the Utility office in City Hall on North Beech Street. Residents will be able to register this week between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., said City Clerk Priscilla Daniel. City hall is closed on Fridays.

Residents also will have an additional day on Saturday, April 4, from 8 a.m. until noon to register. The primary election is on Tuesday, May 5.

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Those who fail to register for the primary can still register for the general election from April 27 to April 30, at the same office also from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and the following Saturday, May 1, from 8 a.m. until noon. The general election is Tuesday, June 2. Prospective voters will need to fill out a registration form and provide their social security numbers. Daniel said even though no identification is required to vote, a voter can be challenged if they are suspected of participating in voter fraud. A challenge is required to occur at the time of the alleged fraudulent voting and can be made by anyone at the voting precinct at the time of the voting.

“It’s got to happen right there,” Daniel said.

If voter fraud is proven, there is a $5,000 fine and prison time associated with a conviction. Fraudulent voting involves someone voting in a precinct in whichhe or she is not registered or are not a resident of that precinct, using a false name, have already voted in the election, are illegally registered, have removed a ballot from a polling place or are disqualified to vote by law under any other circumstances.

Absentee ballots will begin being cast on Monday. Persons requesting an absentee ballot must come into the city office and fill out an application. The absentee ballot must then be filled out at that time and can not be taken home.

Absentee ballots will be mailed only to individuals who are handicapped, disabled, 65 years of age or older or to persons who are the parent, spouse or dependent of those previously listed. Anyone temporarily living out of the city, such as for military purposes, also can request an absentee ballot be mailed to them. Mailed absentee ballots must be returned to Daniel’s office by the Monday before each election day. Persons filling out an absentee ballot in person have until the Saturday before each election day, Daniel said.

Offices for city council in precincts 1,3 and 4 will be decided during the primary election on May 5. In district 5, there will be a run off election unless one of the three Democratic candidates receives 50 percent plus one vote during the primary. Precinct 2 has three Democrats and one independent running for office, so even if there is a runoff, the winner will face the independent candidate in the general election, Daniel said. The runoff election, if needed, will be held on Tuesday, May 19.

Candidates running for City of Picayune offices are:

In the 1st Precinct, incumbent Larry Watkins (R) and Jeff Lossett (R).

In the 2nd Precinct, incumbent Donald Parker (D), Lynn Bogan Bumpers (I), Kimberly Chapman (D) and Robert Jefferson (D).

In the 3rd Precinct, incumbent Anna Turnage (R) and Jason Todd Lane (R).

In the 4th Precinct, Larry Breland (D) and incumbent Leavern Guy (D).

In the 5th Precinct, Howard Alexander (R), Wayne Gouget (R) and Jeff Harrington (R).

For Picayune mayor, state Sen. Ezell Lee (D), former city manager Ed Pinero Jr. (R), Frank Egger (D) and former City Councilman Mark Thorman (D).

Candidates for the Picayune Republican executive committee are Cecil L. Watkins, Ann B. Parker, J. Houston Costolo III, Suzan Wilson, G. Gerald Cruthird and Billie G. Edwards.

Candidates for the Picayune Democratic executive committee are Clinton R. Baker, Constance Doby, Laura Denise Pickett, Audrey M. Williams, Gail DeJunette and Akim L. Ceaser.