Months of campaigning come to head today

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 24, 2009

NATCHEZ — Monday was a day of housekeeping before today’s Adams County sheriff’s election between Ray Brown and Charles R. “Chuck” Mayfield.

The election will fill the remaining two years of the late Sheriff Ronny Brown’s term.

Election Commissioner Larry Gardner said his office was busy testing voting machines, attaching printers and trying to work out the kinks before voting polls open at 7 a.m. today.

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Gardner said he hopes the last-minute checking will prevent technical problems that slowed results during the general election on Nov. 3.

“We have four machines from that election that are marked and ready to be sent to Jackson for repairs,” Gardner said. “Those have been replaced and everything tested well. You hope that same thing happens (tonight), but you never know after they’ve been jostled around in the back of a truck and used all day.”

Mayfield said he did a little bit of housekeeping himself to make sure things are in order for the big day.

“(Monday) was a day for straightening up signs and just in general getting things tidied up,” he said.

In the last three weeks, Mayfied said he has been back tracking a bit to reconnect with people he visited with and contacted before the general election and meeting new people.

“I have been trying to build some bridges with folks who might have voted for some of the other candidates in the general election,” he said.

Brown said he didn’t put any added emphasis on Monday and treated it just like any other day during the campaign by meeting people and “going on with (the) day.”

“I am just getting prepared,” he said. “When you are running, no matter if you are running against seven people or one, you have to run the same.”

Brown said regardless of the outcome of today’s election, he is happy about his decision to run for sheriff.

“This election has been a great experience for me,” Brown said. “The main thing now is for people to just get out and exercise their right to vote.”

Mayfield said he feels blessed to have been involved in such a clean campaign.

“It has been a fantastic opportunity for me to be able to be involved in an election with campaigns run the way they were,” he said. “Everyone was jovial and amiable and it was just a clean race. It has been a joy.”

Voting precincts are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Walk-in absentee voting ended Saturday and mailed absentee ballots had to be received by Monday.

Adams County Circuit Clerk Eddie Walker said his office had received 833 at the end of Monday.

Gardner said he expects voter turnout for the runoff to be lower than the general election. He said typically runoff elections see fewer votes cast, but he can’t predict how much lower the turnout will be.

“There is a holiday coming up, there are a lot of people out of school, and the weather isn’t going to be as pleasant (as in the general election),” he said. “And with the recreation issue already settled, which I think brought a lot of people out, I think it is going to be lower, just how much lower is yet to be seen.”

The general election had eight names on the ballot and with only two in the runoff, Gardner said that might also have a negative effect on voter turnout.

“Going from all those candidates to choose from to just two, people may not feel like they have a horse in this race,” Gardner said.

Poll workers will begin tallying votes shortly after 7 p.m. For complete election returns as they come in visit,