Republican voters go to polls April 2 to choose Thompson challenger

Published 12:51 pm Monday, March 25, 2024

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NATCHEZ — Adams County voters will be asked to go to the polls on Tuesday, April 2, in a runoff election to select the candidate who will face Democrat Bennie Thompson in the general election for U.S. Representative in the state’s second congressional district.

Thompson has held that seat since 1993 and is currently serving his 15th term.

In early 2022, after the 2020 U.S. Census, the state legislature re-apportioned the state’s Congressional districts and the Second District now consists of almost all of the western portion of Mississippi, including Adams County.

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While Mississippians do not declare a party when they register to vote, only voters who cast a ballot as a Republican in the March 12 primary election — or those who did not vote at all — can cast a ballot in the April 2 runoff.

“You don’t register as a Democrat or a Republican in Mississippi. You declare yourself at the time of the vote,” said Larry Gardner of the Adams County Election Commission. “If you voted as a Democrat in the primary, you cannot vote in the runoff. If you did not vote at all in the primary, you can vote in the runoff because you have not declared yourself in the election.”

He said election workers will have a record of who voted in the March 12 primary and what party’s ballot was voted.

Gardner predicts low voter turnout.

“I’m afraid it’s not going to be very good. It never is in a runoff election,” he said. “And if the weather turns south, even fewer will come out to vote. We are not supposed to have bad weather next Tuesday, but I think bad weather is forecast for the set up day for the election on Monday.”

Gardner said voters will go to the same voting places as in the March 12 election and polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The city’s municipal primary election was originally set to be held on April 2. However, the city’s board of aldermen voted last week to move it to Tuesday, April 9, as to not conflict with the state election April 2.

City precincts are not the same as those for county elections, so the two elections cannot be held at the same time.