In Oct. 30-Nov. 5 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Reporter
JAMESTOWN — A big voter turnout is expected in Russell County come Nov. 4, but exactly how many will vote is a "hard call," according to Court Clerk Lisha Popplewell.
"I'd like to see a good turnout, personally," she said. "And I expect it will be, going by the absentee ballots I've sent out and the number of (college) students voting."
She said she had already sent out several paper ballots and that many had already come in to her office to vote absentee. Popplewell said her office would take voters from all 16 county voting precincts that will be out of town on Election Day so that they, too, may have their voice heard.
The court clerk's office is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday. The last day to place your vote at the clerk's office if you will be out of town and unable to vote on Election Day is Monday, Nov. 3.
Popplwell reported that there are currently 12,860 registered voters in Russell County, up from 12,807 in March of this year.
Of those, 9,312 are registered Republican, 3,214 are registered Democrat and 334 are registered as other. Breaking it down even further, females have outregistered males in Russell County, 6,669 to 6,190.
During May's primary election, Russell County Democrats had a 38.8 percent voter turnout while county Republicans had a 13.2 percent turnout. This is due, in part, to the highly contested Democratic race for president between Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton which was still ongoing.
Sen. John McCain had already wrapped up the Republican nomination by that time.
Clinton received 1,026 votes while Obama managed 168 votes in the county's primary while McCain received 966 votes in the county.
Popplewell said she imagined a much larger turnout this time around as people are concerned about the future of the country and who the next president will be.
She noted how the race for United States Senator and Representative were also on people's minds, nearly as much as the presidency.
Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican and 24-year Senate veteran, and Bruce Lunsford, a Democrat, are battling it out for the spot in the U.S. Senate. Popplewell noted how the two had been running multiple campaign attack ads for some time. As of press time, most state media polls show McConnell with a slight lead over his opponent.
In the first Congressional District, voters in Russell County will choose between Republican incumbent Ed Whitfield and Democrat Heather A. Ryan for a seat in Congress. Whitfield maintains a lead over Ryan in the latest state numbers.
Locally, the first, third and fifth educational districts are on the ballot. In the first and third districts, current board members Deborah Haynes and Wayne Gosser, are unopposed.
However, in the 5th educational district, longtime board member Harry A. Kimbler is facing competition from opponents J.R. Simpson and Mary Ann McDaniel.
In other local races, eight candidates are vying for a spot on the Jamestown City Council while 13 candidates are seeking a spot on the new Russell Springs City Council.
"I don't know how they'll play out," Popplewell said as she looked over the candidates. Odell Polston, Marcelene Taylor, Larry Joe Murray, David Lawless, Terry Robertson, Harold "Frog" Miller, Linda K. Wright and George Ralph Garr make up the choices for Jamestown while Ray Barrett, Lillard Pettyjohn, Lisa Mann, Richard A. Wooldridge, Eric Selby, Ricky Barnes, David C. Blakey, Darry McElroy, Denver E. Wilson, Danny Salazar, Wayne L. Gaskins, Kenvie Reese and Timmy Hudson are the choices for Russell Springs.
The following is a breakdown of Russell County's 16 voter precincts and where voters in these precincts must go to place their vote Nov. 4:
Lake and Jamestown precincts will vote in the Jamestown Elementary cafeteria, Rowena and Bryan precincts will vote at Union Chapel Elementary, Eller, Esto, Parkway and Middletown precincts will vote at the Russell County High School cafeteria, Salem, Irvins and Fonthill precincts will vote at Salem Elementary, Eli precinct will vote at the Eli Volunteer Fire Department, Jabez precinct will vote at the Christian Community Center in Jabez and the Webbs, Royville and City Hall precincts will vote in the cafeteria of Russell Springs Elementary.