Parish election is today

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 17, 2003

Louisiana voters head to the polls today to choose candidates in state and local races.

But how interested are voters in Concordia Parish in the races? In most cases, the answer is very.

&uot;Local races bring folks out a lot more,&uot; said Concordia Parish Clerk of Court Clyde Ray Webber Jr. &uot;The highest turnouts are for governor, sheriff and police jury.&uot;

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Always, he said.

Statewide offices such as secretary of state, attorney general and commissioner of agriculture, no matter how important the positions are, are races many voters do not care as much about, Webber said.

&uot;They vote on those (other races) because they come to vote on governor, sheriff and police jury,&uot; Webber said.

Those races, &uot;never, ever&uot; have as many voters in them as sheriff and governor, he said.

Many people will choose not to vote for those races and only cast ballots in the more highly publicized and larger races. And, Webber said, during every election Concordia Parish has more people vote for sheriff than for governor.

As far as today’s election, &uot;everybody’s thinking about the sheriff’s race,&uot; Webber said.

That race will pit 13-year incumbent Randy Maxwell against challenger Glenn Lipsey.

On the other hand, &uot;the candidates for governor are less known here than any of the years I’ve been here,&uot; he said, adding the two have not visited the parish, or at least not recently,&uot; Webber said. &uot;I think that makes a difference.&uot;

One smaller race that usually does not get much attention, insurance commissioner, has been high profile this year, Webber said, because candidate Robert Wooley practiced law in Ferriday.

&uot;He carried the parish,&uot; Webber said. &uot;Wooley beat (Dan Kyle, Wooley’s runoff opponent) better than two to one in this parish.&uot;

Overall, Webber said he expects 60 percent or more of voters to turn out today. And the number of absentee votes is large, with a final count at 1,008.

&uot;The indication is there’s more interest,&uot; Webber said.

Gloria Jean Neal of Ferriday said Friday she will vote in all the races and does not turn out for one particular race. &uot;I’m going because we need some good men in seats,&uot; Neal said.

But the sheriff’s race seems to be the most important to many other voters. &uot;The sheriff’s race (is most important to me) because I care about my parish and the people in the parish,&uot; Benita Kimbro of Vidalia said, although she said the governor’s race is also an important one for her.

Kimbro said she will vote for the people who will take care of Concordia Parish and help bring jobs to the area.

Polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. today. Because of complaints about the voting precinct behind Ferriday High School, voting has been moved to the main hallway at the front entrance of the high school. Webber said there will be signs to direct voters.

The Concordia Parish Police Jury had addressed the precinct issue at two of its meetings because of complaints from people in wheelchairs not being able to access voting behind the high school. Moving voting to the front of the high school should help with wheelchair accessibility, Webber said.