Election Runoff Attracts Few Voters - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

11/16/04

Election Runoff Attracts Few Voters

Tuesday was another election day for thousands of Harrison County voters. Two runoff races for election commissioner meant the opening of 27 polling places in North Gulfport and West Harrison Couty.

But the voter turnout for the runoff races didn't compare to the crowd of voters two weeks ago.

Collums versus Molesworth just doesn't have the drawing power of Bush versus Kerry. Poll workers at Pass Christian City Hall settled in for a long day Tuesday morning.

"Very slow. I tell 'ya. Could have brought a cot today," said Otis Gates Sr., a longtime poll worker.

Only two voters showed up during our late morning visit. Two weeks ago, this same precinct attracted some 1,500 voters.

"We had a line from when we opened the door at two minutes 'til seven the last time. And the line never stopped until three o'clock," Gates explained.

No lines this time. Poll Workers at Pass Elementary say there's no comparison with November 2nd.

"Two weeks ago, it was just absolutely chaos. Yes, indeed," said Linda Burton.

Mary Wimberley added, "Not only was it chaos, but we didn't have the proper books for it. So, a lot of people was upset. Today, they come smiling because their names are in the book."

Doris Buchert came smiling. She considers each vote a patriotic privilege, whether it's for president or election commissioner.

"I have voted ever since I was 18 and I'll be 78 soon. I have not missed an election. My dad was from New Orleans and he was a politician and he would have had my head," said Buchert.

At the Isaiah Fredericks Community Center, it was a different district and contest, but the same story at the polling place. The place was busy with voters on presidential election day, but during the noon hour on runoff election day, there were five voting booths with no waiting.

Most poll workers told us they'd prefer to be busy, although early indications held little promise.

"Oh, we'll get a few more before closing time," said Vertie Marie Bradley, hopefully.

 "Few" seemed an apt description of the day's voter turnout.

By Steve Phillips

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