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Paris City Council candidates were first in line for early voting Monday

ballot boxThe first five ballots for Paris City Council to go through voting machines during early voting Monday at the Lamar County Services Building were cast by candidates for the four seats open on the seven-member board.

By day’s end, voting data released by county elections administrator Russ Towers revealed that all but one of the eight candidates voted on Monday.

In all, 76 votes were cast on the first day in the four council races, whose terms are for two years:

  • 14 in the District 1 race between incumbent Aaron Jenkins and challenger Joe McCarthy
  • 17 in the District 2 race between incumbent Sue Lancaster and challenger Kelly Collins
  • 9 in the District 3 race between incumbent John Wright and challenger Benny Plata
  • 36 in the District 6 race between incumbent Cleonne Drake and challenger Edwin Pickle

Collins was the first to cast a ballot, followed by McCarthy, Drake, Jenkins and Pickle — all within the first three minutes after the doors opened. Lancaster and Plata voted later.

Early voting at the County Services Building (old post office at 231 Lamar Ave.) is also going on for the two seats up for grabs on the nine-seat Paris Junior College board of regents, whose terms are for six years.

Thirty-two votes were cast Monday for the two PJC seats:

  • 17 votes were cast in the Place 4 race between incumbent Daigone Garner and challenger Charles A. Lynch
  • 15 votes were cast in the Place 7 race among incumbent Frankie Norwood, Charles W. Gilbert and Jim Bell

Early voting today — as on Monday — is from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. From then on — Wednesday through Friday of this week, plus Monday and Tuesday of next week — early voting hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

On Election Day, May 10, 2014, voting will be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The ballots are tabulated by machine, which will allow Towers to have the results quickly and be able to release the results within a half-hour or so after the polls close on Election Day.

The City Council election results will be canvassed at the Paris City Council meeting of Monday, May 19, followed by a swearing-in of the winners, followed by a council determination of its mayor and mayor pro-tem for 2014-2015.

Campaigning has become more and more sophisticated.

From Towers, candidates purchase copies of the registered voter list for their districts to help them in their door-to-door campaigning.

Then, each night, after the conclusion of that day’s early voting, candidates look over the voting data to get a feel of how many of the votes cast each day in their district are “their” votes.

As the candidates continue to politic throughout the early voting period, they cross off the addresses of registered voters who have already voted and concentrate on the remainder.

By Charles Richards, eParisExtra