Provisional ballots information turned over to county registrar

Published 5:37 pm Friday, August 29, 2008

About a dozen people stood around a table in council chambers at Selma City Hall on Friday to see which of 16 sealed provisional ballot boxes had ballots in them

A provisional ballot is a paper ballot used to vote by a voter where there is some problem in establishing a voter’s right to vote in that district. Generally, provisional ballots are sealed in an envelope and handed to the election official; in this case, the city clerk.

City Clerk Lois Williams and Jimmy Nunn, the city’s attorney, and a police officer handled the procedure Friday afternoon.

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Most of the people who attended were candidates or presently Selma City Council members. Two representatives of the Dallas County Office of Voter Registration also attended.

“This is not certifying the election, canvassing or anything else,” Nunn said.

Nobody counted any ballots. Williams retrieved ballots from sealed provisional ballot boxes and turned the information about them over to the representatives from the voter registration office.

The voter registrar’s office will take the information from the provisional ballots and decide if they are valid and return them — unopened — when the city council meets at noon Tuesday to certify the election, said Williams.

In all, information from 32 ballots were taken from the sealed boxes. The ballots were returned to the boxes and turned back in.

Two of the precinct boxes had no identification. Here are the boxes and the provisional ballots retrieved from each one:

Cahaba: No ballots

East End: Five ballots

Unknown box No. 1: No ballots

Memorial Stadium: One ballot

G.W.C. Homes: One ballot

Old Kentucky Fried Chicken: Four ballots

Old National Guard Armory: One ballot

Fords Grocery: One ballot

Northern Heights: Three ballots

Rangedale Apartments: One ballot

Selma Mall: No ballots

Queen of Peace: Four ballots

Unknown box No. 2: No ballots

Woodrow Fire Station: Seven ballots

West Trinity: One ballot

Byrd School: Three ballots

The errors occurred because poll workers did not obey the instructions they were given on how to handle the provisional ballots.

“It happens in the county, too,” said C.C. Pettaway, the chief registrar for the county. “It happens all the time.”

Poll workers go through a training course prior to the election. Members of the city council appointed workers for this election.

Williams said she also turned over 82 absentee ballots considered by her office provisional.