City office primary election results

Published 5:50 am Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A slow vote count Tuesday night, caused by human error and use of an old method of voting, bogged down the release of municipal primary election results.

Tuesday night was slow going as city employees and election commission representatives as both parties worked to iron out kinks in ballots and fix over votes. Unofficial final counts were not available until midnight.

Kinks were found in the absentee ballots and some voters did not follow the directions, slowing down the counting process with the Scantron machine.

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Renting the Scantron machines from Lamar County in this election was suggested to the city after City Clerk Priscilla Daniel spoke with a number of people, including Pearl River County Circuit Clerk Vickie Harriel, about possibly using the touch screen voting machines. Daniel said to use the touch screen voting machines would require the ballots being counted in Poplarville. After compiling information from discussions and possible alternatives, Daniel suggested the use of the Scantrons to the city.

The delay in counting did not lie in the machines, Daniel said, but rather with voters marking voting cards incorrectly and some inconsistencies with the handling of the ballot boxes, Daniel said. Overvotes also proved to be a big problem, which entail a voter casting a ballot for more candidates than they should, mostly in the executive committee races. A problem with incorrectly marked ballots also caused a snag in the process.

“It’s not gone smooth, but we did the best we could,” Interim City Manager Harvey Miller said.

Another holdup occured when a challenge was submitted in the council precinct 4 election. Daniel said that challenge will be reviewed by the executive committee. She would not elaborate further on the challenge.

Harriel said there is a way that the city could use the touch screen voting machines for the next election. Daniel said use of those machines will be considered for the general election.

In the end, the unofficials results, excluding some affidavit ballots, were:

For mayor election Ezell Lee (D) got 400 votes

Frank Egger (D) got 112 votes.

Mark Thorman (D) got 307 votes.

Ed Pinero (R) got 725 votes.

In the race for council precinct 1

Jeff Lossett (R) got 146 votes.

Incumbent Larry Elliot Watkins got 175 votes.

In the race for council precinct 2

Kimberly R. Chapman (D) got 69 votes.

Robert Jefferson (D) got 81 votes.

Incumbent Donald L. Parker (D) got 150 votes.

In the race for council precinct 3

Jason Todd Lane (R) got 59 votes.

Anna Bales Turnage (R) got 55 votes.

In the race for council precinct 4

Larry E. Breland (D) got 219 votes.

Leavern Guy (D) got 180 votes.

In the race for council precinct 5

Howard Alexander (R) got 74 votes.

Wayne Gouget (R) got 269 votes.

Jeff Harrington (R) got 7 votes.