Russell County probate judge expects higher voter turnout

Russell County Judge of Probate Alford M. Harden Jr. is expecting twice the number of voters to turn out for Tuesday's election that voted in the presidential primary in March.

It is all about the race for president.

"I really haven't heard that much buzz about the local races, but there is a lot of enthusiasm about the national one," Harden said. "Sometimes, there is more concern about that."

Harden said he expects 30-40 percent of Russell County voters to participate. Eighteen percent of registered voters turned out for the primary.

According to the office of the Alabama Secretary of State, there were 32,456 registered voters in Russell County as the office's last check in September.

The presidential race will draw some voters who do not often vote, and Harden said some of those will likely just vote a straight party ticket -- Democrat or Republican.

Beyond county races, the ballot will also include the election for the representative for the Alabama 3rd Congressional District, which encompasses Russell County. That contest is between incumbent Republican Mike Rogers and Democrat John Andrew Harris.

In a statewide race, voters will choose between Democrat Bob Vance and Republican Roy Moore for Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.

There are four contested Russell County Commission races.

Competing for the District 3 seat are incumbent Republican Peggy Martin and Democrat J.W. Brannen. In District 4, Democrat Ronnie Reed faces independent Isaiah Sumbry. In District 6, incumbent Republican Mervin Dudley is running against Democrat Chance D. Corbett, and in District 7, incumbent Democrat Larry D. Screws faces Republican William B. Smith.

Three commission races are uncontested. Republican Gentry Lee is running unopposed in District 1, Democrat Cattie Epps is unopposed in District 5 and Republican Tillman Pugh is unopposed in District 2.

There are also a couple of races for seats on the Russell County Board of Education.

Incumbent Joseph Williams, a Democrat, is being challenged by Republican Jennifer J. Young for Place 6. Democrat Bernard McKissic is battling Republican Tommy J. Pugh for Place 3, currently held by Charles Johnson, who is not running.

The 17 polling places in the county will open at 8 a.m. EST and close at 8 p.m. EST.

Harden has his name on the ballot, but he is unopposed, which he said makes him feel "wonderful." It saves him money and lets him continue to do his job, he said.

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