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Absentee voting underway

Absentee voting for the Alabama primary elections began Tuesday and will run through May 31.

Franklin County Circuit Clerk Anita Scott, who was unopposed this year in her bid for another term, is serving as the county's absentee election manager. Applications for absentee voting are available at Scott's office in the Franklin County Courthouse or by logging onto www.alabamavotes.gov.

As with voting on the June 5th primary day, absentee voters must designate whether they want a Democratic or Republican ballot. Voters casting an independent ballot will vote only on the Franklin County referendum to renew the one-cent school tax for another two-year period.

In Franklin County, the Democratic primary features only one local race, and that's available just on the west end of the county.

Mike Shewbart faces Ralph Winchester for the Democratic nomination for Franklin County Board of Education District 5.

There are no other local races on the Democratic ballot, although Franklin County resident Rick Neighbors is again running for the nomination for United States Representative, 4th Congressional District. Neighbors faces Lee Auman.

The other Democratic state-level primaries are for governor, where the ballot includes six names, Sue Bell Cobb, Christopher Countryman, James C. Fields, Jr., Walt Maddox, Doug “New Blue” Smith and Anthony White.

The Democratic primary for attorney general is between Chris Christie and Joseph Siegelman and the secretary of state primary features Lula Albert and Heather Milam.

Both the Democratic and Republican ballots include the local referendum on the one-cent tax renewal for two years. That referendum will again appear on the November general election ballot when voters will consider whether to renew the one-cent tax for 30 years.

If we waited to put it on the November ballot and not in June, there would be a lag period where the periods would not overlap,” explained Franklin County election manager Mary Scofield. “It's not two different taxes. Voters are considering the same tax, first for a two-year renewal then for a 30-year renewal in November.”

Several local candidates who are unopposed will not appear on the primary ballots. They include Scott, Circuit Judge Terry Dempsey, District Judge Paula McDowell, Sheriff Shannon Oliver, Franklin County Board of Education District 1 member Ralton Baker, Franklin County Coroner Elzie Malone (Democratic nominee), Charles Adcox (Republican coroner nominee), Johnny Mack Morrow (Senate District Six Democratic nominee), Eddie Britton (House District 18 Democratic nominee), Proncey Robertson (House District 7 Republican nominee) and Ken Brackens (House District 7 Democratic nominee).

They won't be on the ballots if they have no opponent in their party primary,” Scofield said.

Scofield said voters should remember that they may only vote in primary runoff elections for the party whose ballot they select on June 5th. There is no crossover voting.

The Republican ballot in Franklin County features one county race for probate judge. Incumbent Barry Moore faces Joe Mansell. There is no Democratic candidate so this will be the de facto election.

Another race of local interest, House District 18, features two candidates seeking the Republican nomination, Jamie Kiel and Tony Riley.

Sen. Larry Stutts faces primary opposition from Steve Lolley and Eric Aycock.

Congressman Robert Aderholt faces Republican opposition from Anthony Blackmon in the primary.

At the state level, there are 17 contested Republican primaries, including governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, associate justice places 1 and 4 for the Supreme Court, Court of Civil Appeals places 1 and 2, Court of Criminal Appeals place 2 and 3, secretary of state, state treasurer, state auditor, commissioner of agriculture and industries, and Alabama Public Service Commission places 1 and 2.

Sample ballots are available at the Franklin County Probate Judge's office in the Franklin County Courthouse.


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