Voter turnout low across Pine Belt for primaries

PINE BELT (WDAM) - Voter turnout was low across the Pine Belt on Tuesday as elections were held to determine each party's nominations.

"The turnout wasn't as well as we expected," Forrest County Circuit Clerk Gwen Wilks said.

Wilks said the voter turnout was extremely low in the county.

"We had 13.9 percent turnout," Wilks said. "I spoke to one of my local election commissioners about that and she said that's probably the lowest turnout she's seen in a really long time."

That's almost 14 percent of the 445,000 registered voters. It was much the same in Lamar County and Jones County.

In Lamar County, 16.1 percent of the 32,090 registered voters showed up to the polls on Tuesday, according to the circuit clerk's office. In Jones County, only 15 percent of the around 43,000 registered voters turned out to make their voice heard and cast a vote, according to the circuit clerk's office.

'It's our right. It's been years since we've been trying to vote," said John Comegys, who voted in Jones County. "It's our right to come out and vote. If you don't know anybody, you still need to come out and vote. It means a whole lot. I remember back in the day when you couldn't even cast a vote in Laurel, Mississippi. So, this is something very, very serious to me."

Wilks said there is a small indication of why voter turnout was possibly low this year.

"You know a lot of voters go before they go to work because the polls open at 7 a.m.," Wilks said. "I think the weather had a lot to do with it. It always does."

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