Workers prepare for election day

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006


The mark of the beast.

Bad day for a primary election?

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While Tuesday's primary does fall on the sixth day of the sixth month in the sixth year of the current century, last week Butler County Probate Judge Steven Norman assisted poll workers in making sure the devilish day wouldn't upset the election.

A poll workers class was held at the Greenville High School Auditorium last Tuesday.

Norman voiced some of the concerns that typically arise during a primary election. Many voters, he said, don't like being told they can only vote in one primary - either Democratic or Republican.

&#8220The best thing to ask people when they come in is ‘which primary will you be voting?' He said. &#8220Try to stay out of politics as much as you can.”

Norman also said occasionally a candidate might send a poll watcher into a polling precinct to observe. That, said Norman, is his or her only role.

&#8220They cannot talk or interfere with voters. They can stay in the polling place from opening to closing but they can only watch,” said Norman. &#8220The law states there are three reasons for someone to be at a polling place - to work, to watch, or to vote. That's the only three.”

Signs should be placed where everyone entering the polling precinct can see them, especially the &#8220Your ID Will Be Required to Vote Today” signs. Norman also said the quickest way to verify a voter's identity is by social security number. Poll workers can call the Board of Registrars office at the Butler County Courthouse at 382-5685 for quick verification.

Poll workers also received a pay raise this year, said Norman.

A bill, sponsored by Sen. Jimmy Holley (D - Elba) and Rep. Steve Hurst (D - Talladega), increased compensation for citizens appointed as poll workers in each county from $70 to $75 for their assistance on state and federal election days. In addition, by attending Tuesday's class, poll workers will be paid $25 for completing the training course.

Norman said Crenshaw County Probate Judge Jim Perdue, Legislative Chair of the Alabama Association of Probate Judges, was instrumental in acquiring this pay raise for poll workers.

&#8220This is the first compensation increase given to these officials in six years.

These dedicated people have had their hours increased as well as their duties.

Polls statewide are now open from 7 a.m. till 7 p.m. That, plus early arrival and late departure make for a long day,” said Perdue.

&#8220We cannot hold elections without dedicated, trained people.

Even with this increased compensation these citizens earn just slightly more than minimum wage.

Hopefully this can act as an incentive for people to contact our office to apply for these important jobs,” Judge Wallace Wyatt, St. Clair County, President of the Probate Judges association, said.

Handicapped or disabled voters will also benefit from the new voting machines made available at each precinct in Butler County this year. The Butler County Commission purchased the machines in order to comply with the Help America Vote Act of 2002.

&#8220These machines will have touch screens, head phones, a Braille pad, in short, anything that someone with any special need or disability would need in order to vote,” said Norman.

The 25 new machines cost $6,000 each.