Elections today, high turnout expected

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Isaac’s threat will not postpone today’s local municipal elections, and residents are urged to vote early ahead of the rains, area clerks said Monday.

Coastal cities such as Orange Beach, Fairhope and Gulf Shores have postponed their respective municipal elections over the threat of Isaac, but that’s not the case for Andalusia, Opp, Florala and the county’s other municipalities. Polls are open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

“It was a bit uncertain there to begin with,” said Andalusia city clerk John Thomp-son. “Thank-fully, all the indications at present tell us the storm is moving well to the west, so it’s not near the threat to us as we once thought it would be. But, we’ve all lived here long enough to know that storms can behave erratically, so we’re keeping a cautious eye on things.“

If an election is delayed, a municipality must get pre-clearance from the U.S. Justice Department in accordance with the Voting Rights Act. U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions was working with at 15 municipalities in Mobile and Baldwin counties that decided to delay to get that clearance.

As Andalusia residents will vote for mayor and council persons for districts 1-4, Thompson said he expects a good voter turnout, despite the weather.

“I encourage everyone to get up in the morning and vote early so the weather is not a factor,” he said. “We have a race in every district except for five, so I think there will be a good turnout. We’re hoping for a great one.”

In Florala, city clerk Kathy Rathel said the same.

The 1,271 registered voters in Florala will cast a ballot for mayor and the district 1 and 4 seats.

In Gantt, a three-person mayoral race is expected to draw voters, said town clerk Christy Cartwright, and in Opp, the city’s 4,052 will vote for mayor and seats for districts 2-5.

Elections are also scheduled in River Falls and Red Level.