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Elections: Questions &Answers

By Staff
July 21, 2003
Elections, especially political primaries, can sometimes be confusing. The following questions and answers prepared by The Meridian Star should help clear any problems.
What is the difference between the Aug. 5 party primaries and the Nov. 4 general election?
The Aug. 5 primaries are two separate elections, one to choose the Democratic nominee for an office and the other to choose the Republican nominee. The winners of both primaries will meet each other and any independent and third-party candidates in the Nov. 4 general election.
If the winner of a party primary has no Democratic or Republican opponent, as well as no third party or independent opponent, then he or she also wins the office. However, no one will take office until January 2004.
Candidates for my supervisor's district are all running as Republicans. I'm also interested in the Democratic primary for governor. Can I vote in both?
No. Before you vote on Aug. 5, you must decide to cast ballots in the Democratic or Republican primary. After you decide, you can only vote in races that involve that party including the party's races for statewide office.
The Nov. 4 general election is different. You can vote for any candidate running for office regardless of political party. In fact, you can vote for a Republican in one race, a Democrat in another, an independent in another and a third-party candidate in another.
Will there be any runoff elections after the Aug. 5 primary and the Nov. 4 general election?
You could see a runoff election after the Aug. 5 primary. If a specific race has more than two candidates and no one receives more than 50 percent of the vote, then the top two candidates will advance to an Aug. 26 runoff.
The Nov. 4 general election, however, will not have a runoff. The person who receives the most votes will win the race regardless of how many people are competing for the office.
The only exception: the eight statewide offices. Candidates for those offices must receive both a majority of the popular vote and carry a majority of the 122 state House districts. If they don't do both, then the election is left for the state House to decide in January.
If I don't vote in any of the the Aug. 5 primaries, can I still vote in the Aug. 26 runoff?
If I vote in one political party primary Aug. 5, can I vote in the other political party's runoff on Aug. 26?
No. Once you vote in the Aug. 5 party primary, you must stay with that party through any runoffs. You can't jump parties for a runoff election.
If I skip any race on my primary or general election ballot, will my votes still count?
How can I find my county supervisor, state House and state Senate district?
You can check your voter registration card. Or call your county circuit clerk's office at the following numbers: Clarke County, 776-3111; Kemper County, 743-2224; Lauderdale County, 482-9731; Neshoba County, 656-4781; and Newton County, 635-2358.