School readies poll workers for big day

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 19, 2004

Crenshaw County officials are making every effort to make sure Tuesday's municipal elections go off without a hitch.

Monday afternoon, EMA Director Anita West, who also serves as the county's voting machine custodian, held a mandatory poll worker school at city hall.

"It went great," West said following the school. "All of these poll workers have worked county elections in the past."

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During the school, West explained to the poll workers all of the procedures they can and can't do, the procedures that need to be taken to turn in the votes following the election and how to handle poll watchers.

"By law you have to the teach poll worker school," West said. "So we're going around teaching all the municipalities because this town votes one way and other towns may vote differently. So instead of having one school at one location, we teach them individually in every town and teach them how their ballots are going to look."

Luverne voters in District 1 will cast their ballots at the Crenshaw County Board of Education complex on South Woodford Avenue, which is the old Woodford Avenue school site. All other voters will report to the Crenshaw County Courthouse.

The community centers in the towns of Petrey, Brantley and Rutledge will serve as its citizens' polling places. Glenwood residents will vote at town hall.

West is on contract with all the municipalities throughout Crenshaw County including Luverne, Brantley Glenwood, Rutledge and Petrey. She said each municipality has a different method of voting.

"Luverne votes by districts," West said. "The Town of Brantley votes by districts, but they vote for more than one in a district. The Town of Rutledge elects five, but they only vote for one, they take the Top Five. Glenwood runs in districts, but they elect two in their districts."

As for the Town of Petrey, West is running in to trouble finding poll workers.

"For the first time in my recollection that Petrey will have an election," West explained.

"They've got about 50 registered voters and they've got seven on the ballot, so it's created a hardship to find poll workers that are not kin to someone running. They have two candidates for mayor and seven candidates and they elect five and they can vote for five."

Luverne resident and retired schoolteacher Ellen Solomon has been working the polls for the past 15 years and said it's a good way of keeping in touch with the community.

"I want to know what's going on," Solomon said. "I'm involved in everything that I can get my hands on."

Solomon also likes the visit with the town's residents when they come to vote.

"I like it because you get to see everybody, get to hear the viewpoints on different things," Solomon said.

Ten-year veteran poll worker June Taylor of Luverne also likes to call on her neighbors.

"I like meeting the people and seeing folks I don't normally see," Taylor said. "I like it, it's exciting."

Taylor said she doesn't mind attending the poll worker school because like city officials, she too wants everything to go smoothly.

"I think it's very good that we have these classes," Taylor said. "We want everything to be done right."

West continued her preparations on Wednesday afternoon as she tested the voting machines at Luverne's courthouse. She tested Rutledge's machines on Tuesday.