Turnout light for GOP Primary runoff

By JOSH TROY / PRESS REGISTER,

 

It cost almost exactly $330 per voter in the Coahoma County Republican Primary runoff Tuesday.

Election commissioner Chair Andrew Thompson and Circuit Clerk Demetria Jackson confirmed those numbers after all 27 votes came in. The County paid for the election, which cost $9,000, as usual, but the low turnout made it the most expensive election per vote in some time.

The District 2 US Representative Republican Primary was the only runoff in Coahoma County. Brian Flowers defeated Thomas Carey in Coahoma County 19 to 8. Flowers won the primary statewide and will go against the Democratic incumbent Bennie Thompson in November.

Rena Lara had more voters than any precinct with 11. Cagle Crossing down below Dublin had six voters. Friars Point, Jonestown, Roundaway, the Sasse Street fire station, Bobo, the No. 4 north precinct in Clarksdale, the No. 5 precinct in Clarksdale, Farrell and Dublin all had no voters. There are 18 precincts in the county.

The runoff was originally scheduled for three weeks after the March primary, but the coronavirus pandemic pushed it back to late June.

Jackson said there were around 224 voters in the Republican Primary in March.

“We’ve never had this low a turnout before,” said Jackson of the runoff. “It’s all because of the COVID virus.”

Jackson acknowledged most Coahoma County residents usually vote in the Democratic Primary since that is where most of the local candidates run, but the turnout Tuesday was still lower than usual.

“Because of the COVID, people are afraid to come out,” Jackson said.

Thompson felt other issues were at play.

“I don’t think anybody cares,” he said.

Both Jackson and Thompson expect a higher voter turnout in the November general election.|

“That’s a different ballgame because you have something that people are interested in, which is the Presidential Election,” Jackson said.

“You have the Presidential Election in November,” said Thompson in agreement. “You’ve got Congressional (elections).”

Jackson said there will also be elections for the District 1 and 5 seats for the Coahoma County School Board in November. Rodrick Monroe is the District 1 incumbent. He was appointed after board member Patrick Campbell died. Edward Kinard is the District 5 incumbent.

“That’s something local,” Jackson said. “That’s going to drive people out to vote.”

Jackson and Thompson talked about the importance of minimizing the voters’ exposure to the coronavirus.

“This election, we provided them with hand sanitizer, shields, the mask and gloves at the voting places,” said Thompson, adding the plan is the same in November.

Absentee voting could also be an option.

“Absentee ballot will start 45 days before the election,” Jackson said.

Jackson said those who would like to vote absentee could call the circuit clerk’s office at 662-624-3022.

She said she is waiting for Secretary of State’s office for direction on other steps to take in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ll know a little bit more in a few months about November,” Jackson said. “They’re trying to get prepared for November. Once they figure out what they’re going to do, they’ll let us know.”

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