Differing polling places may confuse some voters
by Laura Camper
Sep 18, 2012 | 2872 views |  0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As Rebecca Stewart emerged from the door of the South Highland Community Center, she voiced her frustration to whoever would listen.

“I’m mad as you know what,” she said leaning on her cane. “I voted down here for councilman.”

But today, for the statewide election on a state constitutional amendment, her name was not on the list of voters registered to use South Highland as a polling place.

Stewart’s confusion may be shared by some other voters today. That’s because, said J.J. Taylor, a member of the Board of Registrars, municipal polling places may be different than the polling places for state and federal elections.

For instance, he noted that people who voted at the Anniston Country Club for the municipal election won’t vote there today, since it’s used for municipal votes only. Most of those voters will vote instead at the Donoho School, Taylor said.

A staffer at the Country Club at midday said about 10-12 people had showed up to cast ballots.

Voters should get a card in the mail telling them their polling place when they register to vote, Taylor said. While the municipal polling places may have changed in some cities this year, the county-run polling places used for state and federal elections have not changed.

Anniston City Clerk Alan Atkinson sympathizes. He votes in Oxford for city elections and Talladega County for state and federal elections. City ward lines and Congressional district lines don’t always match up, he said.

“It can be confusing,” Atkinson said.

Atkinson urged voters to call the Board of Registrars at 256-241-2930 before they leave if they’re unsure of their polling place. Voters also can learn their polling place and registration status online at http://www.alabamavotes.gov, a website run by the secretary of state’s office.

Taylor said he had received a few phone calls, but thought most voters knew where to go to cast their ballots. Still for some voters, like Stewart, it was frustrating to get to the polling place and to be told she needed to go somewhere else.

Cora Snodgress, inspector at the South Highland Community Center, said that had only happened a few times since the polling place opened this morning. If a voter comes through whose name doesn’t appear on the list, she will call the Board of Registrars for them, Snodgress said.

But Stewart was having none of it.

“I’m going home,” Stewart said. “I don’t know where to vote.”

Staff writer Laura Camper: 256-235-3545. On Twitter @LCamper_Star.
Assistant Metro Editor Tim Lockette contributed reporting for this story.

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