At its recent meeting, the Fort Payne City Council approved a resolution authorizing the appointment of election officials for the upcoming City elections on August 25.
Fort Payne City Clerk Andy Parker called the search for election officials “an undertaking, but we got a full slate” including nine poll workers at Wills Valley Recreation Center, eight at the VFW and four at City Hall processing the absentee ballots.
The pandemic is presenting a challenge to the process of in-person voting, and city officials voted to consolidate to the two polling locations.
“A lot of our traditional poll workers very politely said ‘thanks but no thanks’ due to COVID-19,” Parker said. “Traditionally, your poll workers fall into the group of folks that are susceptible to contracting COVID-19. They are the older population for the most part. What we found in this election cycle is that they are very reluctant to come be a poll worker this year because of the fear of COVID, so we had to find younger groups of people who may not have participated in the past but were willing to step up and do it this year. Hopefully that will work out.”
Voting at the VFW Fairgrounds and the Wills Valley Recreation Center will be moved to a larger spaces within those facilities to accommodate social distancing.
“We have a plan drawn up where we have one way in and one way out with no cross traffic amongst the people coming in to vote,” he said. “We will have golf carts available for people who may not want to walk the distance to and from their vehicle to the polling place. The polling places will be sanitized frequently. We have staff already at Wills Valley Recreation Center who will go through about once an hour sanitizing tables, the machines, everything that people come into contact with. Same for the VFW location. We’ve done everything we possibly can to make it safe and convenient as possible for people to vote.”
Parker encouraged anyone worried about the coronavirus to vote by the absentee ballot process. The Times-Journal illustrated step-by-step directions in the August 8-9 edition.
“We don’t have walk-in early voting. Voting takes place on August 25 and Oct. 6 for the municipal elections in Alabama. There’s no such thing here as early voting that I am aware of, other than via voting absentee,” he said.
The advised process for requesting an absentee ballot application is to phone City Hall Personnel Receptionist and Business License Coordinator Sonya Maynard at 256-996-3154 so she can collect the caller’s mailing address and then promptly mail a packet to apply for approval to vote by absentee ballot. Due to delays from the U.S. Postal Service, voters are urged not to put off applying to vote absentee.