Polls open at 7 a.m. today

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ben Hillyer/The Natchez Democrat — Adams County poll worker Jonathan Knight picks up his box from the Adams County Courthouse in preparation for today’s primary. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. across the county.

NATCHEZ — Voting machines will be tucked indoors at their precincts today from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., waiting for Adams County residents to escape the heat and perform their civic duties.

The biggest crowds usually pull up to the polls before normal working hours between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., at lunchtime between noon and 1 p.m. and after work between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., Election Commission Chairman Larry Gardner said.

“I find if (voters) can vote between those (busy) times they will find it easier to get in and out (of the voting booth),” Gardner said.

Email newsletter signup

Gardner said campaign materials, including stickers or T-shirts, must remain 150 feet away from any entrance of each precinct.

Ben Hillyer/The Natchez Democrat — County road workers Walter Johnson and Fred Hunt load voting machines onto the back of their pickup truck Monday morning to be delivered to various precincts in the county. Eighty machines will be used in today’s primary.

“(People) can’t have anything promoting any candidates of any kind (near the precinct),” Gardner said.

Those with campaign materials or campaign clothing will be asked to leave before they vote, Gardner said.

As of Monday, approximately 700 absentee votes had been cast in Adams County, which is half the amount of absentees cast in the 2008 presidential election.

Gardner said the election commission expects a voter turnout of 50 to 75 percent of registered voters today.

Elections with a high number of contested, local races increase turnout, Gardner said, but extreme weather conditions can play a role too.

Today’s heat index, which includes factors like humidity and wind, is expected to reach between 105 and 110 degrees in Adams County with less than a 20 percent chance of rain, National Weather Service meteorologist Ed Agre said Monday.

At Monday’s Adams County Board of Supervisors meeting, veteran affairs department head Earl Drane encouraged citizens to vote today.

“Veterans fought and lost lives for the privilege (of voting),” Drane said.

Voters at the polls will use the same electronic voting machines used in all recent elections.

Gardner said the commission has not experienced any technical difficulties with the voting process in recent elections, and he expects no problems today.

He said other than poll workers or media, loitering at precincts is prohibited.

Gardner said residents voting at the Adams County Courthouse will have access to parking on Market Street on the north side of the courthouse in parking spaces usually reserved for judges.

Unofficial voting results should begin to be reported at approximately 8:30 or 9 p.m., Gardner said.

For up-to-the minute results from today’s election, visit www.natchezdemocrat.com.