County voter turnout ‘disconcerting’

Published 12:49 am Wednesday, November 5, 2014

NATCHEZ — Approximately 40 percent of Adams County’s registered voters showed up at the polls Tuesday.

Of the county’s 20,026 voters, 8,297 cast ballots.

In Concordia Parish, an estimated 6,537 members of the parish’s 13,449 electors — 48.6 percent — expressed their opinions at the polls.

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Adams County Election Commissioner Larry Gardner said he was pleased with turnout early in the day, but expected it to pick up throughout the day.

“To see this type of apathy is disconcerting,” Gardner said. “You had six good candidates running for a very important office — judge over our children and county matters — and this is the turnout.”

Adams County Circuit Clerk Eddie Walker said he believed the U.S. Senate race, in which Thad Cochran won, helped bring voters out to the polls.

“It’s not a bad turnout for this election,” Walker said. “You had the local race and the Senate race that I think really brought people out.”

Gardner said few issues were reported throughout the day at the polling places, with a minor circuit breaker issue at Northside Precinct at Frazier Elementary School.

“There was a breaker that was thrown, but it was fixed quickly,” Gardner said.

A total of 494 absentee votes have yet to be factored into the numbers, and Gardner said he expected nearly 100 affidavit votes that also needed to be counted.

This year is a mid-term election, which tend to trend for low voter turnout nationally.

But after casting her ballot Tuesday, Melanie Miller Downer said she never misses an election.

“I think it is my responsibility,” she said. “It is something I feel is very important — I don’t think you have a right to complain if you don’t vote.”

The race that drew Downer’s interest most was the local county court race.

“I know several of the candidates, but I have known one of them a little bit longer than the rest, and I think he will do the best job,” she said.

Voter Charles Johnson likewise said he always votes, no matter what the election.

The race Johnson had followed the most closely this cycle was the Mississippi U.S. Senate campaign, he said.

“They are paid to do a job, but no work is getting done through the Senate,” Johnson said. “It just sits on (Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid’s desk. Do you think if you were paid to do a job and you didn’t do it, they would keep you around?”

Concordia Parish Voter Michael Turner characterized his participation in the electoral process as “a God-given right.”

“We’ve had many people who fought and died just so we can have this chance,” he said.

Turner said he was fascinated by the Louisiana U.S. Senate race and was pulling for Sen. Mary Landrieu.

“We need to support Sen. Mary Landrieu because she has seniority, in many ways,” Turner said. “She’s for Louisiana, from the wet lands to the oil.”

Parish voter Gerri Brown likewise said the Senate race had her attention.

“Sometimes one vote may make the difference,” Brown said.

Devonte Demby, Rod Guajardo and Vershal Hogan contributed to this report.