Questions will be put to rest in area cities

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Today will finally put to rest the question of who will lead three cities in the area as Greensboro, Linden and Demopolis residents go to the polls once again for runoff elections.

In Demopolis, Mike Grayson faces Cecil Williamson after Williamson took a narrow lead in the Aug. 24 election. City council districts two and five will also be decided today with Freddie Charleston and Charles E. Jones go head to head for district 2 and Mike Baker and Jack Cooley fight for district 5.

In Linden, incumbent Pat Vice vies for the top seat against former mayor Kathryn Friday and in Greensboro, where the race has already heated up over complaints of voter fraud, Johnny “J.B.” Washington will try to best Vanessa Hill.

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Polls will open statewide at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.

On the eve of election day, candidates voiced their last minute thoughts for the upcoming election.

Demopolis candidate Mike Grayson said he felt “cautiously optimistic” about today’s election.

“I’m not overconfident, but I feel good,” he said. He said he wanted to encourage people to vote for the best leader.

“I maintain that this election is about leadership that will determine the direction and progress of the city over the next four years,” he said. “Voters need to vote for the person they think can do that.”

He said he was not worried, though.

“Whatever happens, God’s will will be done.”

His opponent, Cecil Williamson, noted those who supported her and in the first election and asked them to continue that support.

“You’re vote and support got me to the runoff, for that I thank you. I am asking again each and every one of you vote for the future of Demopolis. A vote for Cecil Porter Williamson is a vote for the future of Demopolis. Your vote is your voice,” she said. She added that she would do what she could to ensure that anyone who wanted to vote would get that chance.

“If anyone needs a ride to the polls call 289-0928.”

In Linden, mayoral candidate Kathryn Friday focused on the race and the need for people to vote, regardless of who they voted for.

“This has been a positive campaign with no negatives, and that’s good for Linden,” she said. “I just encourage everyone to get out and vote.”

She said voters needed to decide what they want for Linden before voting.

“They need to decide where they want Linden to be in four years and vote for the person they think get Linden there,” she said. “Win or lose I’ll still be there working for Linden.”

Several attempts to reach incumbent Pat Vice were unsuccessful.

Greensboro was a different story, where candidates Vanessa Hill and Johnny Washington have been in an embroiled contest over voter irregularity and voter fraud from the Aug. 24 election.

Washington said representatives from the Attorney General’s Office have been in town carefully reviewing the voter lists, something Washington calls “intimidation.”

“The Attorney General’s Office have been here interviewing people, knocking on people’s doors and telling them they can’t vote,” he said. “They’re threatening to take names off the voters list.”

He said he had never seen anything like it in the history of Greensboro.

“This is as bad as I have seen (Greensboro) on the eve of voting day. Greensboro deserves better than this,” he said. But he said voters should not be intimidated and should go to the polls anyway.

“It is my hopes that today would be an uneventful day. With the mechanism my opponent has in place, I’m afraid a large segment of the black citizens can and will be harassed and intimidated,” he said. “Be steadfast and don’t be intimidated, you have a right to vote,” he said. “I would like to appeal to all citizens of Greensboro, if you are truly concerned about Greensboro, let’s do the right thing for our city. Vote for Johnny Washington for mayor. You choose or lose.”

Washington’s opponent, Vanessa Hill, focused more on the outlook for Greensboro.

“Greensboro voters, don’t just vote for someone you know, vote for someone you know can make a positive difference in the city of Greensboro,” she said. “Elect me, Vanessa Hill for mayor. I’ll give full-time attention to a part-time position.”