Miss-Lou turnout heavy

Published 1:00 am Wednesday, November 5, 2008

NATCHEZ — When poll worker Vicki Drake showed up to her polling post at the fire station on John R. Junkin Drive she said she was very surprised by the line of eager voters.

Drake said while the poll didn’t open until 7 a.m., by 6 a.m. she estimated there were at least 70 people waiting to vote.

And from that point on the voters just kept coming in, Drake said.

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Click on the following link for a pdf of precinct by precinct numbers in the Nov. 4 election: Local election numbers .

“It’s been busy,” she said widening her eyes. “It’s been very steady.”

By 1 p.m. Drake estimated 1,500-2,000 voters had cast their ballots at the station.

And while many said lines in the morning were long, by afternoon there was virtually no waiting at all.

At noon, Phyllis Mashburn was casting her vote at the at the Adams County Courthouse.

There was no line and Mashburn was able to vote in a matter of minutes.

“I was expecting to wait,” Mashburn said. “But this was great.”

And those who oversee the election reported higher than normal voter turnout and no problems at the polls.

Election Commission Chairman Larry Gardner said he had originally predicted a near 70 percent voter turnout and believes Tuesday’s election brought out the crowds in mass.

“We could see more than 70 percent,” he said.

By comparison the 2004 election brought out less than 50 percent of the county’s 22,000 registered voters, Gardner said.

And in Concordia Parish, the parish’s Clerk of Court Clyde Ray Webber said Tuesday’s turnout, approximately 67 percent, was the largest he’s seen.

“It’s as big as I’ve ever had,” Webber said.

But both Gardner and Webber said given the big issues and historic nature of this year’s election, it’s not hard to understand why there was such a great turnout.

Even seasoned voters said they recognized an excitement associated with this election.

After casting her vote Jean Buckles, 63, said the 2008 election is the most popular election she has ever seen.

Buckles said no matter what the outcome of the election, she sees a need for change in areas like the economy and healthcare.

“Hopefully we’ll see some

changes,” Buckles said. “But the president can’t do everything, so we’ll hope for the best.”

Gardner, like Buckles, said while the president can’t do everything, he also thinks people are looking for a change.

“They’re looking for someone to take the lead,” he said. “A lot of people are looking for a change.”