Voter turnout in Calhoun County has been better than expected so far, workers at one Anniston polling place say. By 9 a.m. at the Anniston Mental Health Center, 21 voters had turned in their ballots in today’s runoff elections.

“We had 17 total in an entire day for runoff elections a couple years ago,” said Lisa Huckaby, a poll inspector for the Calhoun County Board of Registrars at the Anniston Mental Health Center. “We had seven in the first 15 minutes of being open today. I think we will get more than expected.”

State officials have predicted that as few as one in 20 registered voters will show up at the polls for today’s vote, in which Calhoun County residents will have a chance to select Republican nominees in three statewide races or a Democratic nominee for the Calhoun County Commission District 1 seat. There’s no Republican in the county commission race, which means that either James Montgomery or incumbent Fred Wilson will win a term on the commission with tonight’s vote.

Voters also have a chance to weigh in on a statewide amendment that tweaks the rules for a fee paid by cotton farmers.

The hot topic today at the Anniston City Meeting Center, though, was the county commission race.

“It’s slow, but they’re coming,” said Abdul Khalil’llah, 16, who passed out flyers supporting Wilson for commissioner.

Khalil’llah said people who have things to do may be too busy to vote.

David Baker, president of the Calhoun County chapter for the NAACP and executive director of Community Against Pollution, said he was voting for Montgomery.  Baker said the election was important, because District 1 is the most lacking district in the county.

“We’re lacking a lot of things in our district, from the schools to our community at large,” he said. “West Anniston, Hobson City and Central City have been knocked down for so long, and it’s going to take a person of character and strength to raise the eyebrows of the citizens and make us whole again.”

In the 1960s, a lot of people didn’t have the opportunity to vote, he said.

“If the turnout is low today for whatever reason, it would be a shame and a slap in the face for those who have died in the struggle for the right to vote,” Baker said. “We shouldn’t take voting for granted. It is a privilege and a right to vote.”

Polls close at 7 p.m.

Staff Writer Elizabeth Manning: 256-235-3550. On Twitter @emanning_Star.