The Primary Election is just five weeks away, and things are heating up for local candidates on the campaign trail.
Saturday night in Winona, the Winona Voters’ League hosted its annual political rally – the fifth rally held in Carroll and Montgomery counties this political season. Three more rallies are expected before the August 6 primary.
I have covered local elections for nearly 20 years now, and I always get excited when an election year rolls around. However, this year, I have noticed that citizens aren’t turning out at political functions the way they have in years past. With the exception of the Black Hawk rally, which is its own political institution in the state, attendance at rallies in Carrollton, Winona, and Vaiden was surprisingly underwhelming this year.
It is a shame, really, because the races being determined this year on the county level – and the state level for that matter -- have a direct impact on the quality of life of a community. The victors in this election will hold the power to establish county property tax rates, determine a plan of maintenance for local infrastructure, establish long-term comprehensive plans for the community, facilitate circuit, chancery, and justice courts, enforce the law and investigate misdemeanor and felony crimes, and develop a strategy for a natural disaster or other emergency situation.
Voters need to educate themselves on whom is running for what seat and make an informed decision when going to the polls. Voters need to take a look at the qualifications of each candidate and decide who will do the best job for the citizens of Mississippi and Carroll and Montgomery counties.
Inserted into this week’s edition, you will find the first of two Voter’s Guides published by The Winona Times and The Conservative. The second will be published prior to November’s General Election. Candidates were asked to complete a questionnaire to run free of charge in the Voter’s Guide. Those candidates who chose to participate provided a better picture of themselves as a candidate, their qualifications, and what they feel is most important in improving the community.
I encourage you to take a look at the Voter’s Guide and learn more about those seeking leadership positions in our community. There is a pretty impressive pool of candidates that will appear on the ballot.
Also, remember to vote. If you don’t vote, you have forfeited your right to complain.
If you need to register to vote, there is still time before August’s Primary. Voter registration goes through July 8. Visit your Circuit Clerk’s office for more information or visit the Mississippi Secretary of State’s website.
Take note that voters’ will have to decide if they want to vote in the Democratic Primary or the Republican Primary prior to visiting the polls on August 6. Mississippi does not have open primaries so you will have to choose which primary in which to vote.
Also when you head to the polls, you will need to bring a photo ID to show to the poll workers in order to cast your ballot. That is the law in Mississippi.
Stay tuned for information about absentee voting in the upcoming election. The circuit clerk’s office customarily opens on Saturday mornings just prior to the election to allow for absentee voting. Dates and times will be provided later this month.