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Primaries marred by few problems

By By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
Aug. 6, 2003
Democratic ballots arrived 30 minutes late at the Suqualena precinct, Republican ballots ran short at the Meehan precinct and a voting machine went on the fritz at Northwest Junior High School.
The three incidents were among the few glitches in Lauderdale County for the Democratic and Republican party primaries. Polls were open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
Mary Perry, Lauderdale County Democratic Party vice chairman, said the ballot mix-up in Suqualena happened because of a death in the family of the person responsible for delivering ballots to the precinct.
Kris Gianakos, a retired Air Force colonel and an instructor pilot with Lockheed Martin at Naval Air Station Meridian, is chairman of the Lauderdale County Republican Party.
Gianakos said he knew of one machine at the Northwest Junior High School voting precinct that had problems accepting ballots early Tuesday. But he said the problem was repaired within about 15 minutes.
He also said the precinct at Meehan ran short of Republican ballots and extras had to be rushed to the polling place shortly before the polls closed.
Bill Ready, a local attorney and chairman of the Lauderdale County Democratic Party, said voter turnout was as light as he expected it to be for his party's primary especially with few contested races.
Overall Perry considered the turnout to be lighter than she thought it would be.
Gianakos categorized the election as an average turnout compared to past Republican primaries. Tuesday was his first time to run a primary election.