Everyone set for election

Published 6:51 pm Monday, August 25, 2008

Voters are expected to line up at the polls today in Selma and Valley Grande to cast their ballots for their respective council members and mayors.

Polls in both cities open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.

In Selma, representatives of Election Systems and Software are expected to deliver voting machines beginning at 4 a.m., according to Jimmy Nunn, the city’s attorney.

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Owners of the voting buildings were to open the sites, said Selma City Clerk Lois Williams.

Poll workers will show up by 6:30 a.m. to prepare to open to the public.

Last week, Nunn stressed some rules for the precincts, including no electronic devices in the polling sites. Those devices include cell phones, video cameras and laptop computers.

Other rules include no harassing poll watchers, trying to influence voters or moving around in the voting place, Nunn said.

Area candidates may have their poll watchers at the site, but those individuals must remain at least 30 feet from the voting area, according to the city attorney.

In Valley Grande, registered voters will cast their ballots at the Valley Grande Community Center next door to City Hall.

On Monday, representatives with ES&S publicly tested the voting machines scheduled for use in Selma. Two police officers, members of the city’s narcotics unit, stood guard as several voters and candidates watched.

The machines were moved to the basement of City Hall overnight as two police officers stood guard for enhanced security.

Elsewhere, the U.S. Justice Department will have federal elections observers monitoring elections in Perry County for potential violations of the Voting Rights Act.

Justice Department officials said it is dispatching observers to Marion.

Federal and state officials began investigating elections in Perry County after reports of suspicious behavior at the polls in the June 3 primary and because of unusually large numbers of absentee ballots.

Monitors had attended the June primary.

The Justice Department would not elaborate on why it would monitor the election in Marion. Generally, observers are sent to ensure fair voting procedures and to protect minority rights.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.