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New polling place guidelines detailed for upcoming city elections

NATCHEZ —Natchez municipal primary election day is June 2, and the polls will be somewhat different due to the COVID-19 pandemic, said Larry Gardner, Adams County election commissioner.

Gardner hosted a meeting Thursday with all of the city’s poll workers in the Natchez Convention Center to explain a few guidelines meant to keep both workers and voters safe from the potential spread of COVID-19.

No one will be able to enter the polling precinct without a mask, Gardner said, adding there will be a few masks available for voters who don’t have one.

Each polling precinct will have only one entrance and exit with a limited number of people allowed in at one time, Gardner said. Children under the age of 18 should not be brought to the polls, Gardner said.

Each voter will need to have a photo ID ready to show to poll workers without handing it to them.

Gardner said each voting precinct would have four tables with two sign in tables positioned between the voters and where the poll workers will be seated to ensure everyone is socially distanced when signing in.

Every pen that is used to sign the book can either be kept by the voter or thrown into a nearby trash bin to prevent it from being reused, Gardner said.

Voters will also be provided with a Popsicle stick stylus to enter their votes on the machine without touching the screen and should throw the stick in a trashcan once they finish voting, Gardner said.

Voter access cards will be wiped down between each use and placed on the tables without being handed directly from person to person, Gardner said.

Voters in the June 2 primary will chose between Democratic candidates for the City of Natchez Mayor —Ernest “Tony” Fields or Dan Gibson — and their respective aldermen.

Ward 2 Alderman Billie Joe Frazier, Ward 3 Alderwoman Sarah Carter Smith and Ward 5 Alderman Benjamin Davis are unopposed and three or more candidates are in the race for Ward 1, Ward 4 and Ward 6 Aldermen.

A run off election, if needed, is scheduled for June 23 and independent candidates will appear on the general election ballot on July 14.

Voters may also request an absentee ballot by filling out a form at the City Clerk’s office in Natchez City Hall, 124 S. Pearl St., or online at natchez.ms.us and emailing it to sfortenberry@natchez.ms.us.

The City Clerk’s office also will be open for absentee voting from 8 a.m. until noon May 23.