Meridian Star

Local News

April 28, 2013

Poll workers prepare for city elections

DECATUR —     Primary elections for candidates for mayor and city council are just a little over a week away and poll workers have been getting ready for voters.

Although the city holds these elections, along with the political parties, county election commissioners have been helping out with training for poll workers.

    Jeff Tate, chairman of the Lauderdale County Election Commission said city voters will be in good hands when primaries are held May 7.

"The majority of the poll workers who have been hired for this year's elections — most of these are veteran, seasoned workers," Tate said. "There are a few new ones as there are in every election. In every single precinct, at every precinct table, there will be at least one, well experienced poll workers."

    Part of the training involves bringing poll workers up to date on new election laws.

    "Laws change from year to year. Mainly it's something minor, however we keep the poll workers up to date on what those law changes are," Tate said.

    There will be fewer poll workers needed for the city election than there are for county-wide elections.

    "The great thing about this election; normally we have around 50 precincts around the county. We have to hire poll workers for those 50 precincts," Tate said. "For this city election, there are only 17 precincts."

    When election day arrives,  Tate said voters should allow themselves plenty of time to get to the precinct early and to make sure they know where they are supposed to vote.

    "We ask them to refer to their voter administration card and to keep in mind that there are two addresses on those cards — one is the county precinct in which they vote; the other is the city," Tate said. "They need to go to their city precinct for this election. We're expecting a great turnout so there may be some lines, which is a good thing."

    The busiest time of the day at polls is between hours of 7 a.m. until 9 a.m., he said, so voters who want to avoid long lines may want to vote after that, if their schedules allow.

    If there is a line at 7 p.m., Tate said, the voter will still be allowed to vote.

    "If it takes an hour, two hours, however long, that's fine, as long as you were in line at the precinct to vote by 7 p.m., you will be allowed to vote," Tate said.

    Tate also reminds voters to think about whether they will be in town on May 7 or whether they need to vote by absentee ballot.

    "It would be best for voters who are intending on voting absentee to come in as soon as they can because the closer we get to the election the longer the lines will be," Tate said. "We do not have early voting. You have to have a legal reason to vote by absentee."

    Absentee voting is taking place on the first floor of City Hall. For more information about the city election, call City Hall at 601-485-1947,  601-485-1946, or 601-485-1945.

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