Voters sound off on issues after voting

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, May 25, 2011

By Alison McFerrin

The Selma Times-Journal

A special election often draws low voter turnout. But, while the 36 percent of registered voters who turned out for Tuesday’s special election to fill the open Ward 3 seat on the Selma City Council, seems small, election officials were quite pleased.

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“Everything went extremely well today,” Selma City Clerk Ivy Harrison said. “We did have a few challenged ballots that we are working through, but for the most part it went well.”

City officials had hoped the race for the city council seat would be decided Tuesday, avoiding a runoff. But with neither of the top two candidates receiving more than 50 percent of the vote, city officials are now planning to host another election on July 5.

The two candidates who are unofficially set in the runoff — Greg Bjelke and Gwen Brown — must also gear up their campaigns once again in an effort to address the concerns expressed by the ward’s registered voters.

“(I hope) for us to have more jobs and a lot of places for kids to go when they’re out of school and enjoy themselves, so they can stay out of trouble,” Ward 3 resident Patricia Lee said after casting her ballot at the Dallas County Courthouse.

For Barbara Johnson, her biggest concern is the cleanliness of the city.

“A clean city, for one thing and the codes being enforced,” Johnson said when asked what are her biggest issues when deciding on which candidate to vote for. “We have a problem — over where I am, in the Riverview area — with the codes being enforced. We want the trash, the household garbage, put in the garbage can.”

Millie Vick, who also cast her vote at the courthouse polling place, said she hopes this election process will help close some of the divide within the ward and in the city.

“We need change and we need to work together,” Vick said. “We all need to get on the same page, love each other and work with the mayor and city council to move Selma forward.”

– News editor Rick Couch and editor Tim Reeves contributed to this report.