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County goes to the polls on Tuesday

Election officials on all levels of government are anticipating historic voter turnout for Tuesday’s General Election.

The state hit three million registered voters on Tuesday and Probate Judge Steve Norman said this year’s election has generated increased interest in Butler County.

Thursday, the county’s registered voter total stood at 14,693, up from 13,996 in June, said Norman.

“That’s almost an increase of 700 new voters so there is definitely interest there,” he said.

Also, at least 500 absentee ballots have been filed with the circuit clerk’s office, said Norman.

Tuesday’s election is historic for a pair of reasons: The country will either have its first black President in Democrat Barack Obama, or its first female vice-president in Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, running mate of Republican candidate John McCain.

Alabama Secretary of State Beth Chapman is anticipating a voter turnout of 79 to 81 percent.

“Preparation of the polling places rests in the hands of the capable Probate Judges and other elections officials across the state. The Probate Judges are aware of the increased numbers and they are preparing their counties accordingly,” Chapman said.

Norman said that percentage would represent an increase of between 2,500 to 3,000 more voters than the county has ever had for an election during his time in office.

“It’s just a case of making sure we have enough ballots available for potential voters,” said Norman.

8,642 people cast a ballot in the last Presidential election in 2004, nearly 60 percent of all registered voters in Butler County.

Norman held the required poll workers class on Thursday at Greenville High School.

Locally, a pair of Republican incumbents face Democratic opposition in elections for the Butler County Commission.

District 1 Commissioner Jerry Hartin faces Lawrence Philpot, and District 5 Commissioner Glenn King faces Lynn Watson. Jesse McWilliams (District 2), Frank Hickman, (District 3), and Jimmy Crum (District 4) face no opposition.

However, Norman did make poll workers aware of a “write-in” campaign in District 4. Crum was elected by the Democratic Executive Committee in July to replace the late Daniel Robinson.

A grassroots campaign, however, is hoping to have Tommie Hamilton elected for District 4 in Crum’s place.

Also, seated board member Joe W. Lisenby will face Tanya H. Speir in the District 3 Board of Education race.