Howington predicts low turnout forJuly 22 runoff

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By Nick Nunn staff writer

During the regular meeting of the Board of Elections and Registration on Thursday, June 19, Morgan County Elections Supervisor Bobby Howington predicted that the turnout for the upcoming July 22 runoff election will only account for 5 to 6 percent of eligible voters. Early voting for the July 22 runoff election will begin on Monday, June 30, and end on July 18. Voting times will be 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays, but the elections and registration office will be closed on Friday, July 4, for the national holiday. Howington indicated that the office is prepared for the runoff election and early voting. BOER Member Helen Butler expressed concerns with the lack of a procedure for dealing with corrupted memory cards that contain information about ballots.

During the primary election on May 20, a memory card from one of the voting machines in Morgan County was corrupted upon removal, requiring Howington to “recreate” the information on the memory card from the machine itself the next day. The board voted to create a procedure for replicating the information on the memory cards, stating that, if the card can be recreated that night, two board members must be present for the information transfer to the new card, and, if the card must be recreated the next day, two board members must still be present and representatives from each political party involved be invited to be present for the information transfer. The BOER also voted to approve of Betty Meeler as the third person to be present for weekday early voting for the runoff election. Lois Johnson was named as a replacement in the event that Meeler, Sue DoorenBos, or Howington are forced to be absent during early voting. They also discussed the procedure for issuing voter registration cards.

Howington said that he has had issues with people coming into the office that have never registered to vote and request voter registration cards the very day they fill in their voter registration information. He said that it typically takes 10 business days for the state to process the voter registration paperwork before a voter is officially registered.

Howington said that most people, who ask for the voter identification card, desire to use the card as identification for purposes other than voting. He said that voter identification card are only to be used for voting and that any other application is a “misuse” of the voter identification card. BOER Member David Moore, who was not present at the meeting, left a list of issues, including asking whether or not county transportation was used during the May 20 primary election. Howington said that six vans were available on the final day of voting and only three members of the public used the service. Butler suggested that the BOER should do more to educate the voters about the transportation service that is available to them. Avery Jackson, BOER member, said that the board should try to educate more voters through direct mail to the leaders of churches and civic organizations instead of relying on media advertisements. Butler asked if county transportation will be available for the runoff election, and Howington said that he would ask Morgan County Manager Michael Lamar if that service would be available.

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