Nunn: Aside from a few minor mishaps, election ‘went well’

Published 2:47 pm Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Tuesday’s election marked the first time that Dallas County Probate Judge Jimmy Nunn had to oversee an election – as the county’s chief elections officer, the buck stops with Nunn when it comes to all things election related – and, overall, he was happy with the results.

“I think everything went well,” Nunn  said. “But there’s always room for improvement.”

Nunn noted that his office was already at work Wednesday morning assessing the process and finding ways to ensure that things run smoother during the March 31 runoff.

Email newsletter signup

Among the issues faced by some voters Tuesday was an insufficient number of tablets, which were used in place of handwritten voter roles for the first time in Dallas County, at some of the county’s largest precincts, including Valley Grande, Barrett Road, Tipton-Durant and the YMCA.

Nunn stated that officials were already looking into acquiring additional tablets before the runoff at the end of the month.

Additionally, Nunn noted that “two or three” of the tablets being used across the county were unable to pull up the voters list, forcing election officials to resort to the handwritten role provided as a backup.

“Overall, the voters were able to get in quicker and that was the main purpose of [the tablets],” Nunn said, adding that nearly 40 new elections officials were on the job for Tuesday’s primary. “When you look at that, along with the new iPads, along with it raining all day long, I really think the election officials did a wonderful job. I applaud them 100 percent.”

In total, just over 11,400 ballots were cast in Dallas County – according to the Alabama Secretary of State’s website, that means that voter turnout in Dallas County was just over 36 percent.

Nunn noted that the constant deluge of rainfall Tuesday likely kept some voters away, but he was pleased with the turnout.

“I think the turnout was very good, considering it was raining all day,” Nunn said. “There were times I couldn’t even get out of my vehicle.”

But the weather wreaked havoc in other ways, too – Nunn noted that paper ballots at some precincts absorbed the moisture in the air and were being spit out of the ballot machines.

“These machines are very sensitive, so it would throw back those ballots,” Nunn said. “You just have to refeed the ballot several times until it takes.”

A handful of machines went down across the county and at least one had to be replaced entirely.

Tuesday’s election saw most current members of the Dallas County Commission voted out of office – only Dallas County Commissioner Curtis Williams will remain on the body – forcing Nunn to evaluate the election both from the perspective of the county’s chief elections officer and as chair of the commission.

From the perspective of the latter, Nunn said he was surprised by the results.

“Some of the races, I was shocked about the results that came out,” Nunn said. “Just unexpected. You will have an all new commission, except for Curtis Williams.”

Despite the shakeup, Nunn is optimistic about the commission’s future.

“Anytime that you have experienced and seasoned people on the job, things run like it would have run always,” Nunn said. “But when new people come on the job, you do have a training period, in which people have to get acclimated to the job, no different than I had to get acclimated to the job. With the qualifications of the people coming on, all of them…it shouldn’t take that long for them to get a grasp of county government and grab hold of it and run. I think all of them will do a good job.”

Aside from the March 31 runoff, provisional ballots still have to be counted before the results of Tuesday’s election are official.

That count will take place Tuesday, but Nunn noted that, with only eight provisional ballots cast, there is no chance that Tuesday’s results will change.