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Back to school for poll workers

Poll workers will gear up for a series of schools to help them cope with the Oct. 7 run-off election.

Selma officials and representatives from Election Systems and Software will hold two separate poll worker schools at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tuesday in council chambers at Selma City Hall.

Those who want to work as election officials must attend one of the sessions, according to City Clerk Lois Williams.

Selma council members approved the two schools earlier this week. The idea evolved after the Aug. 26 primary, which ended with some questions raised about the handling of provisional ballot boxes.

When the council prepared to certify the election, those present commented about how poll workers failed to label some of the boxes from the polling places, didn’t place items in the proper boxes and didn’t mark some provisional ballots.

The council set up guidelines for conducting future elections, which include the two schools.

The Alabama League of Municipalities does not require another school for poll workers before the run-off, according to Jimmy Nunn, the city’s attorney.

But poll workers need the extra school, said Ward 1 Councilman Cecil Williamson.

Other guidelines established after the Aug. 26 primary include:

Extra training on handling provisional ballots designed for the poll inspector and the chief clerk

Enforcing that all poll workers must attend the election school or the city clerk will replace those who do not show up

Extra training on handling the Automark machines available for voters who choose to use them

Ensuring the police mark 30 feet from the front door of the polling place to stop campaigning.

Posting instructions for dealing with provisional ballots and closing the polls at the polling places

Pre-labeling boxes with precinct names and numbers

Forbidding poll watchers to mark ballots or help mark ballots

Forbidding poll watcher from getting behind the table with poll workers or sitting with poll workers.