Candidates who got past the Aug. 28 municipal election and onto runoff ballots made one last pitch to voters on street corners and doorsteps Monday.
Also Monday, poll workers unloaded voting machines, tables and chairs at voting places while city and town clerks finalized voter rolls and fielded last-minute phone calls.
Voters throughout the area head to the polls today to select candidates to lead their cities for the next four years. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Election results will become official Oct. 19 with the canvassing of ballots, and new officials will be sworn in Nov. 5.
“We’re pretty much good to go, and everyone is ready to get these voters through the doors,” said Stacy Gilley, Decatur city clerk. “I hope everyone that can vote comes out (today) and has their voices heard.”
Decatur and Hartselle each have a runoff for mayor, while candidates in Falkville, Trinity, Athens and Courtland are vying for their respective city and town councils. Decatur and Hartselle each will have a runoff for city council members as well.
Runoff elections typically have lower turnout than general elections, said Jess Brown, political science professor at Athens State University. Gilley has found most residents simply forget to vote.
“The key for any candidate in a runoff election is getting the people who voted for you the first time around back out at the polls,” Brown said. “It’s hard to do. The typical voter thinks, ‘Hey, I voted for you once. What else do you want me to do?’ ”
Turnout hovered around 30 to 35 percent in Decatur for the August election, Gilley said. Around 500 more Decatur residents have registered to vote since, bringing the total to about 33,000. Decatur poll workers will utilize the same iPads used by the county’s election officials to look up voter rolls at precincts. The voluminous paper voter rolls will still be on hand if needed.
“We’ve had a lot of absentee ballots coming in, which may be an indication of higher voter turnout for the runoff,” Gilley said. “If we’re going by the number of absentee ballots filed, it could be around 40 to 45 percent, which would be a great turnout — especially for a runoff election.”
More absentee ballots, 300, have been returned for the runoff than for the August election, which had 265. In 2008, Decatur had 122 absentee ballots and 152 in 2010.
Registered voters should be prepared to present some form of identification at the polls. Those who are standing in line when polls close will be allowed to vote.
Decatur voting precincts in today’s election, listed by precinct ID and location:
3-2 West Decatur Elementary, 708 Memorial Drive S.W.
3-3 Aquadome Recreation Center, 1202 Fifth Ave. S.W.
3-11 Carrie Matthews Recreation Center, 902 Sixth Ave. N.W.
3-12 Turner-Surles Community Resource Center, 702 Sycamore St. N.W.
3-1 Morgan County Courthouse, 302 Lee St. N.E.
3-4 Fort Decatur Recreation Center, 610 Fourth Ave. S.E.
3-5 Somerville Road Elementary School, 910 Somerville Road S.E.
3-13 Morgan County Department of Human Resources, 507 14th St. S.E.
4-2 Oak Park Middle School, 1218 16th Ave. S.E.
3-9 American Legion Building, 2607 U.S. 31 S.
3-15 First Bible Church, 3202 Spring Ave. S.W.
3-17 Decatur Fire and Rescue and Police Training Center, 4119 Old Highway 31 S.W.
4-1 Decatur Fire Station 8, 3701 Indian Hills Road S.E.
4-3 T.C. Almon Recreation Center, 2900-C Point Mallard Circle S.E.
3-6 Westmeade Baptist Church, 2030 Beltline Road S.W.
3-7 Decatur Utilities Auditorium, 1002 Central Parkway S.W.
3-8 First Baptist Church Austinville, 521 Austinville Road S.W.
3-10 Decatur Baptist Church, 2527 Danville Road S.W.
3-14 Saint Andrews Presbyterian Church, 3310 Danville Road S.W.
3-16 Cedar Ridge Middle School, 2715 Danville Road S.W.
Confused about where to vote? Call the Decatur City Clerk’s Office at 256-341-4500 or go online to www.decaturalabamausa.com/departments/planningdept/publicinfosessions.html
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