Election officials get organized ahead of Tuesday

Published 11:53 pm Saturday, August 25, 2012

On Thursday, poll workers and poll observers — as well as a few candidates — met at Selma City Hall to go over what is allowed, not allowed and the challenges they may face Tuesday during the municipal elections for the city of Selma.

Throughout the entire meeting, the same topic kept coming back up; redistricting.

Tuesday’s election will mark the first citywide election since the city’s new redistricting plan was approved in May. As many as 2,000 residents were shifted from one ward to another during the redistricting process.

Email newsletter signup

It is that shifting of voters that has already caused problems during the absentee voting process, and election officials are predicting a number of issues during Tuesday’s vote.

“When you get someone who insists they are to vote there, give them a provisional ballot,” Dallas County Board of Registrars official Lola Sewell said. “If you have someone who is listed as an inactive voter, make sure to give us a call, because there is a chance their status has been upgraded since the lists were generated.”

Thursday, the Times-Journal published the registered voters list, detailing which ward the thousands of Selma voters were assigned.

Already, some problems have been discovered and election officials have said they are working to iron out issues before Tuesday.

In advance of Tuesday’s election, Lt. John Brock with the Selma Police Department said the department would be marking the 30-foot barriers around the front door of each polling place.

“Thirty feet means 30 feet,” Brock told those gathered. “It doesn’t mean 28 feet, 29 feet. It is 30 feet.”

Brock said the department would also have multiple cars and officers on patrol during Tuesday, visiting polling places and checking in with election officials.

“They are not there to do anything but make sure order is kept,” Brock said. “This is not the first election I’ve been around for. There will be those who argue. We will be there to protect the poll workers and the voters.”

Polling places in Orrville, Selma and Valley Grande open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. Tuesday.