Low voter turnout predicted for for primary runoffs

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 25, 2002

Only 23 percent of Pike County voters turned out for the June 4 primary, and with no local races on the ballot for the runoff, that percentage is likely to be lower for today’s runoff elections.

Secretary of State Jim Bennett predicted the statewide turnout would be about 20 p ercent.

"I hope I’m wrong, but the runoff never attracts the voters that the primary does," he said in an Associated Press story.

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The election is expected to cost the state approximate $3 million, and if voter turnout is low ­ meaning some 460,000 of the state’s 2.3 million registered voters cast ballots ­ the Associated Press says the election will cost about $6 per voter.

The Republican and Democratic primaries drew 34 percent of the state’s voters on June 4.

A number of statewide constitutional offices are on the ballot with runoffs for both parties.

Polls in Pike

County open at 8 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.

In the Democratic runoff, these candidates will face each other:

· U.S. Senate: Julian McPhillips, Susan Parker.

· Secretary of State: Chris Pitts, Nancy Worley.

· Treasurer: Stephen Black, Carol Jean Smith.

· Auditor: Debbie Tucker Corbett, Carolyn Gibson.

In the Republican runoff, these candidates will face off:

· Secretary of state: Dean Young, Dave Thomas.

· Treasurer; Kay Ivey, Lisa Wallace.

· Auditor: Beth Chapman, Jim Zeigler.

The Democratic Party does not allow crossover voting ­ meaning those who voted in the Republican primary cannot vote in the Democratic runoff. In 1986, that allowed the Democrats to disqualify votes that had put Charlie Graddick over the top against Bill Baxley. Baxley was granted the nomination.

But the Republican Party does allow voters to cross over and vote in the runoff.

Some pundits had predicted that would be an issue this year if Lt. Gov. Steve Windom and U.S. Rep. Bob Riley were in a runoff for the GOP nomination for governor. Riley polled better against Siegelman than Windom, and some people thought Siegelman supporters might cross over and vote for Windom.

But Riley beat Windom handily in the primary earlier this month.