Runoff rules explained; Feeling the heat in Beat 5
Absentee ballots are not in yet, but Circuit Clerk Concetta Brooks is making provisions for anyone who won’t be in town or has some other good reason they won’t be able to vote in the Aug. 27 primary runoffs.
“We have a lot of people who are going back to school and some who will be on a 30-day hitch working in the oilfield or on a pipeline,” she said. “We’re trying to provide (ballots) for people who need to vote because they’ll be gone, but not just for those who want to go ahead and vote for the sake of convenience. It needs to be a verifiable emergency.”
Ballots aren’t ready because election results have not been certified statewide, especially in some northern counties. Waiting on final results in statewide races has caused the delay, Brooks said. (When the sample ballots are ready, they will be published at leader-call.com.)
“We’re making every effort available for people who are in an emergency situation to be able to vote,” she said.
Brooks went over the rules for the runoff:
• Those who voted in the Democrat or Republican primary will have to vote in the same party in the runoff;
• Those who didn’t vote at all in the primary can vote in either of the party runoffs.
Only 18,178 of the county’s 43,000-plus registered voters cast ballots in the primaries.
In Jones County, there will be runoffs in the following Republican races:
• Sheriff, Macon Davis vs. Alex Hodge;
• Beat 1 Supervisor, Johnny Burnett vs. Harlon Mathews;
• Beat 2 Supervisor, Larry Dykes vs. Richy Seals;
• Beat 3 Supervisor, Phil Dickerson vs. Barry Saul;
• District 1 Justice Court Judge, Grant Hedgepeth vs. Noel Rogers
In the Democratic primary runoff, Beat 5 Supervisor candidates George Carmichael and Travares Comegys will be on the ballot.
Both Democrats sit side by side on the Laurel City Council, but things have been heating up between the two since Election Day.
Carmichael has said he is filing a complaint with the Secretary of State’s office about Comegys having his political sign too close to a polling place and making a video from the precinct after he voted.
Carmichael has requested that the Secretary of State’s office send a poll watcher to the precinct at the L.T.Ellis Center.
“If there isn’t one present I feel that there will be more irregularities and violations that will occur,” he wrote. “In order to have a fair election there needs to be someone present of higher authority.”
A representative of the Secretary of State’s office wrote back that there will be a poll watcher observing the election in Jones County.
Comegys’ camp posted a photo of his political signs that were found in a ditch on Joe Wheeler Avenue this week.
Brooks said she has been made aware of the complaints and has posted signs with rules at the polling places. They note that no campaign literature can be within 150 feet of a polling precinct, and that “includes T-shirts, hats, buttons or signs.” Also, no “standing around and loitering” is allowed within 30 feet of a polling precinct during voting hours.
Carmichael got 783 votes to Comegys’ 717 in the race for the seat that has long been held by Jerome Wyatt, who did not seek re-election. The winner of the runoff will face Independent Chris Holifield in the General Election on Nov. 5.
The winner of the runoff in the race for sheriff will face Independent Joe Berlin.
The winner of the runoff in Beat 1 will face Independent Bobby Brady Jr., the winner of the runoff in Beat 2 will face Independent Ronnie Herrington, the winner in Beat 3 will face Independent Donald Dale Holifield. The winner of District 1 judge race will face Democrat Marian Allen and Independent Larry Blakeney.