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Vote count delayed as election workers have to order new vote scanner

NATCHEZ — Natchez Municipal Election Commission members have ordered a new scanner after a machine malfunctioned late Wednesday afternoon as commission members were scanning some 700 absentee ballots to finalize results of Tuesday’s Natchez municipal Democratic Party primary election.

Officials said they are hopeful the new machine will arrive by noon so they can proceed with counting the ballots that could make the difference in the Democratic Party primary Natchez Mayoral race and two alderman positions.

With so many absentee voters, winners of the race for Natchez Mayor, Ward 1 and Ward 4 Natchez Aldermen seats were too close to call after the polls closed on Tuesday. The only outright winner after in-person votes were tallied was incumbent Democrat Dan Dillard in the race for Ward 6 Natchez Alderman.

In the mayoral race, Democratic candidates Tony Fields and Dan Gibson were separated by a 112-vote margin. Gibson leads with 1,631 votes to Fields’ 1,519 votes, which could easily change once all of the absentee ballots and affidavits are counted.

The winner of the Democratic Party nomination will face two independent candidates — Richard Branyan and Phillip West — in the July 14 general election.

In the race for the Ward 4 Natchez Alderman seat, incumbent Democrat Felecia Bridgewater-Irving held a 45-vote lead over challenger Michael Calcote while 164 absentee ballots remain to be counted in Ward 4.

The winner of the Ward 4 race after the absentee votes are counted will face Republican challenger Brenda Floyd in the July 14 general election.

In the race for the Ward 1 Natchez Alderman seat, Democratic challenger Valencia Hall as a 46 vote lead with 292 votes to incumbent Democrat Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis’ 246 votes.

In Ward 1, 192 absentee ballots were cast that remain to be counted.

The winner of the race for Ward 1 will face independent challenger Jamar White in the July 14 general election.