Voter turnout here encouraging

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 6, 2002

Mother nature didn’t make it easy to get out and vote. It was rainy and it was nasty.

The lights went out at some polls. The campaigns, at the state level, were bitter.

And when people arrived at the polls, they often had to wait in line.

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Why? Because Dallas County citizens got out and voted.

Estimated voter turnout for Tuesday’s election was a whopping 52 percent. That is a solid number considering the rainy conditions.

As we have seen before, many in Dallas County exercised their right to vote. In our area, the right to vote is something that is taken seriously and it is a privilege that is used.

We may disagree at times, but one thing you can say about the citizens of Dallas County is that we care. We care about government and we are enormously interested in our community.

The results of yesterday’s voting is interesting. In one race, we were certain to get new leadership. The District 67 House race, once held by Ed Maull, was contested by Republican Mark Story and Democrat Yusuf Salaam. LaTosha Brown, who ran a strong campaign on the Democratic ticket in the spring, re-entered the race as a write-in.

The majority of Selmians voting in that race said religion was not a factor and elected Salaam, a Muslim, as their new state rep.

Salaam, who ran for mayor unsuccessfully in 2000 and once held a Selma City Council seat, faced court challenges from Brown supporters and a well-organized campaign by Story.

Salaam further advanced his reputation as a scrappy political opponent and endured much to win his seat.

Incumbent Senator Hank Sanders did well in Dallas County and cruised to victory over challenger Richard Motes, a Libertarian. Motes made a surprising showing in Dallas County, garnering 39 percent of the vote, which is unusual for a third party.

We hope our newly elected leaders will focus sharply on the pressing issues we face here. Namely, the need for economic development, education and good roads.

The Black Belt cannot continue to move forward until these areas are improved.

We congratulate Sanders and Salaam on their results and ask them to go to Montgomery with our best interests at heart.