The first Democratic Primary election is less than two weeks away and local governments are preparing for upcoming activity.
The City Halls in Houston, Houlka and Okolona all have absentee ballots available and will extend their hours of operation to accommodate voters. Each City Hall will be open Saturday, April 25 and May 1 from 8 a.m. until noon to assist residents who will not be able to vote in person in the election.
There are few contested races in the 2009 municipal elections. In Houston, the position of City Marshall has four candidates while the Okolona Mayor's race also has four candidates.
Houston's Board of Alderman Ward I seat has two candidates listed in contention, but Scott Shempert has announced that he does not intend to seek the position.
"I have been asked to fill in for the church as the music director," Shempert said. "Also I have some issues at work that are going to require me to log some additional hours. I don't feel that I could give the position the attention it deserves."
As ballots have already been printed, Shempert's name will appear on the ballot, along with that of Tony Uhiren.
"I feel that Tony will do a great job for our ward and I support him fully," Shempert said.
Okolona's city council seat in Wards 3 and 4 are contested and Houlka's city council will be decided in the general election. The Houlka city council consists of five positions for which ten people have qualified to run.
The Town of Woodland will not be obligated to hold a municipal election as all incumbent council members and mayor are unopposed.
The Chickasaw Journal will run an informational article in the April 29 edition, listing all candidates qualified for office in each municipality.
Candidates in contested races were sent questionnaires to complete and return to be published in that article. All questionnaires are due Wed., April 22 in order to be published.