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County sees historic election shift

Members of the Republican Party review absentee ballots at the Alcorn County Courthouse during Tuesday night's vote count.

Staff photo by Zack Steen

By Jebb Johnston

It may not have been a historic election day for turnout, but it was in another way.

Circuit Clerk Joe Caldwell said it's the first time ever that the Republican primary has drawn more voters than a Democratic primary in the county election. It came as the majority of candidates dropped party labels this year, particularly Democrat, and ran as independents.

With the shift in emphasis to the November general election, turnout was expected to be less than that of a typical August primary, and that proved to be true. Votes counted Tuesday night totaled 7,521, which is 30.2 percent of registered voters and down from about 10,400 four years ago.

But Election Commissioner Anthia Jo Follin-King was pleased with what she saw in the Fourth District.

"We had a good turnout at Kossuth — about 1,000," she said.

And despite the way the usual election patterns have been upended this year, potentially confusing voters, "It went a lot smoother than I had anticipated," she said.

Follin-King said the poll workers did a good job going over sample ballots with voters to help them understand the choices to be made.

"That's a hard day's work," she said.

Deputy Circuit Clerk Crystal Starling agreed that confusion was not as bad as anticipated.

"We had more sample ballots requested than ever," she said. "It seemed like people made the effort to be prepared."

Absentee ballots counted totaled 395. Affidavit ballots numbered 56, and those were to be considered today.

Alcorn County Republican primary results for the state races:

• Governor — Tate Reeves, 3,390; Bill Waller Jr., 2,357; Robert Foster, 816

• Lt. governor — Delbert Hosemann, 4,858; Shane Quick, 1,057

• Secretary of state — Michael Watson, 3,124; Sam Britton, 2,538

• Attorney general — Lynn Fitch, 2,548; Andy Taggart, 2,013; Mark Baker, 1,492

• State treasurer — David McRae, 3,760; Buck Clarke, 2,035

• Northern district transportation commissioner — John Caldwell, 1852; Jeremy Martin, 1,628; Geoffrey Yoste, 1363; Trey Bowman, 898; E.A. Hathcock, 158

Democratic primary results for the state and district races:

•Governor — Jim Hood, 591; Michael Brown, 93; Velesha Williams, 59; Robert Smith, 25; William Bond Compton Jr., 15; Robert Ray, 14; Gregory Wash, 13; Albert Wilson, 5.

• Secretary of state — Johnny DuPree, 510; Maryra Hodges Hunt, 234

• House of Representatives District 3 (three Alcorn County precincts) — Janis Triplett Patterson, 56; Jimmy Wayne Russell, 23