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Polls open in primary

NATCHEZ — The first step in the 2010 Congressional election season will be today when the polls open for the Democratic Congressional primary election.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The race is for Mississippi’s Third Congressional District, currently represented by Republican Gregg Harper.

Because Harper is running unopposed, there will be no Republican primary.

Today’s primary will be for the three candidates qualifying as Democrats.

Those running on the Democratic ticket include Joel L. Gill of Pickens, James D. Jackson of Brandon and Shawn O’Hara of Hattiesburg.

District 5 Election Commissioner Mitch Ballard said the election is actually run by the national Democratic committee.

“We put out the equipment, but they hire the poll workers and conduct the elections,” he said. “It’s a cooperative effort — we did some training for the poll workers, and the night of the election we will download all the (voting machine) cards and give them the results.”

Ballard said he did not expect the election to see a big turnout from voters.

“You can usually tell an election by the absentee ballots, and we didn’t get many returned,” he said.

After today’s election, the two candidates who garner the most votes will proceed to a second primary on June 22.

If one of the candidates in today’s election garners more than 50 percent of the vote, however, that candidate will proceed to the general election.

The general election — in which the ultimate winner of the two Democratic primaries will face Harper — will be Nov. 2. Adams County has 21,426 active registered voters.

Louisiana’s first party primary will be Aug. 28. The second primary election will be Oct. 2, followed by the Nov. 2 general election.

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