“We’ve had 38 people vote in my office (as of Monday),” Thomas said, “ and another 21 that have returned an absentee ballot through the mail. I think we’ll see 2,800 or 2,900 people vote.”
That would equate a turnout of 31-percent if 2,900 people indeed go to the polls.
Voter turnout was 36.1-percent in the 2002 Primary Election and 63.2-percent in 1998.
Thomas said the lack of a primary race for the county’s top office – judge-executive – may be one of the reasons why early voting has been low.
Until last month, there was a primary race between Democrats Marc Terrell and Hollis Alexander. However, Alexander, who also serves as Cadiz police chief and city administrator, dropped out of the race, citing a desire to spend more time with his family.
Voters who do go to the polls for Tuesday’s primary election will be greeted by one of 14 new voting machines purchased by the county last year.
Thomas said the new machines are handicapped accessible and provide headphones to have the ballot read to the voter and Braille ballot capabilities. The state allotted $75,000 to help the county purchase the new machines as part of the Help America Vote Act of 2002.
The newer machines feature a rotary dial that scrolls through each race and allows each voter to review their ballot and voting choices on a screen before submitting their vote.
The new machines, which weigh about 20 pounds compared to the old machines used 20 years ago that weighed nearly 800 pounds.
Thomas said the each precinct would have one of the new machines. She added that the North Cadiz Number One, South Cadiz Number One, Canton Number One, and Canton Number Two precincts will have two of the older machines that are 12 years old and were used prior to this year to help alleviate any lines at the precincts. She said voters could choose either machine to cast their vote.
“It may take some time for people to learn how the new machines work, but they do have some features that are better than the older ones,” Thomas said.
Polling places will be open Tuesday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
In terms of number of candidates seeking local office, the total is actually five lower than the 1998 primary.
For the rest of this story, see this week's Cadiz Record