These primaries will set the slate for the November General Election. It is a fact from the history of primary elections that in non-presidential election years and non-county office election years, there has always been a lower turnout. However, that needs to change, as primary elections are very important for the simple fact that they set the General Election ballot for who will be the major party nominees.
There will essentially be two primaries going on Tuesday. The Democratic primary will choose a nominee for the U.S. Senate seat from the candidates on the ballot and a nominee for the Second Congressional District seat. The Republican primary will feature candidates including the incumbent vying for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate seat. With Mississippi not having voter registration by party affiliation, a voter can choose which primary in which they would like to vote, however, they can only vote in one.
The United States Senate seat is an office that is set for a six-year term instead of the usual four years of most offices. In other words barring some unforeseen circumstances, this seat will not come back around until 2020. If a voter wants to have a say in who will represent their preferred political party on the ballot in November, Tuesday's primary election is the chance to do so.
Historically general elections have a large turnout, but party primaries are the selection process for the party nominees. This is where selecting a representative begins, and that makes them very important.
Civic involvement is essential to the electoral system by participating in the process of who will serve our citizens by casting a ballot on election day. A person’s vote is equal to every other citizen in this state, and citizen involvement in choosing our officials is crucial whether it be on the local, state or federal level.
It is important to remember that Tuesday will be the first time in the Magnolia State voters will be required to show a valid ID when voting. Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann's office has been informing voters for months on the different forms of identification that can be used when casting a ballot Tuesday. For more information voters should contact their local circuit clerk's office.
Absentee voting is currently going on at the circuit clerk's office during regular business hours and will continue on Saturday from 8 a.m. until noon. Voting for these primaries are very important. On Tuesday, polls are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Ken Strachan is a former mayor of North Carrollton and serves as Carroll County coroner.