Turnout lower than expected

Published 12:36 am Wednesday, May 7, 2008

NATCHEZ — Voter turnout was not as high as anticipated for the Democratic primary Tuesday.

Election Commission Chairman Larry Gardner and City Clerk Donnie Holloway both said they predicted the turnout would be over 50 percent, but it was only 45 percent.

“I really thought we would break 50 percent,” Gardner said. “I’m disappointed we didn’t have a better turnout.”

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Gardner said it shouldn’t be surprising, however, because the turnout this year is comparable to that of the city elections in 2004.

He said he wished there was a high percentage because when there is a greater turnout, it truly shows what the citizens want.

City resident Judy Brewer said she felt the election was important and was willing to cast her ballot to show what she wants.

“It has to do with the future of Natchez,” Brewer said.

Anne Huff said she wanted to vote because she wants to be involved in the city’s future, as well.

“I think every citizen ought to go and vote to have a say in the city’s future,” she said.

Voter Bobby Moore, who cast his ballot at the National Guard Armory, said he was just living up to his responsibilities as a citizen by voting.

“It’s my duty,” he said.

For the election, many of the candidates have honed in on such issues like infrastructure, crime and recreation.

Marva Jones said she uses city elections as a way to voice what she, as a citizen, wants.

“I vote every election as a way of voicing my opinion,” she said.

While this election is important for the future of Natchez, Donnell Crawford, who voted at Frazier Primary, said he doesn’t consider this election to be any more important than previous ones.

As far as he’s concerned he said he thinks every election is crucial.

“It’s not more important than any other race,” he said. “People just need to get out and vote.”

He said non-voters don’t have the right to complain about city business.

“It’s their fault if they didn’t get out and vote,” he said.

In the 2004 first primary, Ward 1 saw 929 votes cast, Ward 2 had 994, Ward 3 had 1,196, Ward 4 had 865, Ward 5 had 924 and Ward 6 saw 899 votes cast.

For the mayoral race, 5,700 votes were cast.

This year 712 votes were cast in Ward 1, 769 in Ward 2, 758 in Ward 3, 667 in Ward 4, 779 in Ward 5 and 803 in Ward 6.