2014 election: Voters head to polls today to vote in primaries

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Joan David shows Jean Biglane her driver’s license at the Duncan Park Canteen Tuesday in order to vote in the primaries for US Senator and the House of Representatives. (Mary Kathryn Carpenter / The Natchez Democrat)

Joan David shows Jean Biglane her driver’s license at the Duncan Park Canteen Tuesday in order to vote in the primaries for US Senator and the House of Representatives. (Mary Kathryn Carpenter / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Mississippi residents will take to the polls today in a party primary election for a U.S. senate seat and Mississippi’s Third Congressional District.

The election will mark the first time residents of the state will be required to show a photo ID before casting their ballots.

Residents shouldn’t, however, expect a much different experience than any previous election, Adams County Election Commissioner Larry Gardner said.

“It’s going to be pretty much the same for poll workers and those voting except for them requesting and showing an ID,” Gardner said. “All the poll workers have to do is request that ID and once they show them the ID, it’s going to be the same thing they’ve always done.”

Mary Kathryn Carpenter / The Natchez Democrat — Members of the election commission office found an issue Monday at the David R. Steckler Multipurpose Building, which is a part of District 3 and the Natchez Public Schools precinct. Construction of an emergency shelter nearby is blocking the parking areas of the precinct. Signs will be posted to help direct voters.

Mary Kathryn Carpenter / The Natchez Democrat — Members of the election commission office found an issue Monday at the David R. Steckler Multipurpose Building, which is a part of District 3 and the Natchez Public Schools precinct. Construction of an emergency shelter nearby is blocking the parking areas of the precinct. Signs will be posted to help direct voters.

Mississippi voters approved a constitutional ballot in 2012 to require voter ID at the polls, beginning with today’s election.

The state accepts many forms of identification as acceptable for voter ID, including a driver’s license, State of Mississippi photo ID, U.S. Passport, firearms permit or student photo ID card, among others.

Residents who arrive at the poll without a photo ID can still vote in the election, Gardner said.

Those residents will be asked to vote by affidavit ballot at the polling place and will then have five business days to show an acceptable form of photo identification, or apply for a Mississippi Voter ID card at their Circuit Clerk’s office.

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Gardner said he doesn’t see the new photo ID law being an issue for Adams County.

“Of the 20,000 registered voters, we know we have a little more than 400 that do not have a state issued driver’s license,” Gardner said. “That’s a pretty small percentage and in anticipation that this isn’t going to be a real active election, I really don’t expect any problems.”

Members of the election commission office visited various precincts Monday to ensure voting machines were properly installed and ready for today’s election.

Gardner said crews found a small issue Monday at the Steckler Multipurpose Building, which is a part of District 3.

The precinct is next to a construction site where a storm shelter is being built, and a significant portion of the parking area for voters is unavailable because of construction.

Gardner said signs would be placed around the precinct this morning that would direct voters to available parking and away from the construction.

“We didn’t know that was going to be an issue until we got there (Monday),” Gardner said. “That was really the only thing we came across.”

In the congressional race are Republican candidates Rep. Gregg Harper, the incumbent; and Hardy Caraway;and Democratic candidates Jim Liljeberg, Doug Magee, and Dennis Quinn.

The winners of the party primaries will face two third party candidates, Roger Rerrard and Barbara Dale Washier, in the Nov. 4 general election.

In the senate race are Republicans Sen. Thad Cochran, the incumbent; state Sen. Chris McDaniel and Thomas Carey.

The Democratic senate ticket includes Bill Marcy, Travis Childers, William Bond Compton Jr. and Jonathan Rawl.

A Reform Party candidate, Shawn O’Hara, will be on the November general ballot along with the winners of the party primaries.

Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.