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Feds watching half-dozen municipal elections

AROUND MISSISSIPPI — The U.S. Justice Department says it will monitor elections tomorrow in six Mississippi cities to ensure voters are treated fairly.

Attorneys will observe polling place activities in Brookhaven, Greenwood, Isola, Meridian, Philadelphia and Ruleville.

The monitoring is designed to enforce provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which prohibits discrimination based on race and other factors. Most Mississippi cities are electing mayors and members of the city council or board of aldermen.

In Meridian, Republican Mayor Cheri Barry and Democratic challenger Percy Bland both requested Justice Department monitoring.

In Brookhaven, voters will elect a new mayor because Les Bumgarner, an independent, didn’t seek a second term. Brookhaven voters also will decide whether to allow the sale of alcohol in the city.

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