Officials: Turnout in runoff Tuesday was slow

Published 12:18 am Thursday, August 29, 2019


NATCHEZ — Two words could be used to describe Tuesday’s Adams County primary runoff election, election commissioners said — smooth and slow.

Less than 18% of registered voters in Adams County showed up to the polls and cast their ballots — 6,794 voters out of the 38,240 Adams County residents who are registered to vote.

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Approximately 470 absentee ballots were received and have not been counted yet.

With a much shorter ballot than the first primary held Aug. 6, election commissioner Tracy Gaude said she anticipates having the final vote count a lot sooner this time.

The final numbers for the Aug. 6 election were not tallied up until nearly a week after election day.

“The Democratic resolution board is coming (Thursday) to count the absentee votes,” Gaude said. “We’re hoping they will finish counting them with such a short ballot and then we’ll turn around and enter them. We want it all done by Friday before the Labor Day holiday.”

The Clarion Ledger reported at least three cases of voting machines changing the users’ selections Tuesday and have been confirmed by election officials — one in Lafayette County and two in Calhoun County.

In a video posted on social media from Lafayette County, one user recorded herself trying to select Bill Waller Jr. for governor on the Republican ballot however the machine would select Tate Reeves instead.

Gaude said none of the Adams County precincts reported any technical difficulties with the voting machines, adding one of them did glitch while it was being calibrated before the election started.

“We calibrate them during a testing process, and during that testing we had that happen where we would make a selection but it would jump up and we had to recalibrate it,” Gaude said.

Gaude said the machines are calibrated before every election and guessed that the Lafayette County machine was either not calibrated or had been damaged as it was being moved to the precinct.

Only two Adams County candidates, Carmen Brooks Drake and Audrey B. Minor, were declared winners after Tuesday’s election. The rest face challenges by independent or Republican candidates in the Nov. 5 general election.

Carmen Brooks Drake was elected to the Adams County Prosecuting Attorney’s position with 3,605 votes to Lisa Chandler’s 1,875 votes.

Drake could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Audrey B. Minor won the Northern District Justice Court Judge Position with 2,296 votes. Her opponent, Eddie Jones garnered 602 votes.

“It was a battle to the end, I think, because when incumbent judge Patricia Dunmore withdrew from the race and myself being more than 1,300 votes ahead I thought it was over,” Minor said. “… When Mr. Jones stayed in, I had to go to work — going door to door. I think it was a clean race and was well worth it. … I’ve been a servant to the county for 22 years in Justice Court. … I enjoy serving the people in Natchez and Adams County and will continue to do so to the best of my ability. I will make the best judgment with the evidence that is placed in front of me in court.”