Secretary of state tells of voting changes
By Jennifer Walker
Published February 24, 2004
Alabama Secretary of State Nancy Worley told the DeKalb Democratic Women last week of voting changes expected in DeKalb County by 2006.
Whether ballots were intentionally not counted in past elections around the state is under scrutiny, Worley said, who added a bill is currently going through the Alabama House that would require all paper ballots to be removed from machines and taken to probate judges? offices for security.
The problem has not been seen in DeKalb County, according to Worley.
The state is expected to see several million dollars in federal funds from the federal Help America Vote Act, which will end touch-screen voting in DeKalb County.
DeKalb County Commission President Sid Holcomb said DeKalb, Mobile and Montgomery are the only counties in the state with touch-screen voting and a cartridge that records each vote, which Holcomb said he prefers because of its privacy.
According to Holcomb, a bill is going through the legislature that allows touch screens and a paper trail. He wants it to pass because the federal government is providing money for new machines, which means DeKalb County?s, could be sold to Mobile and Montgomery.
Holcomb also asked Worley if poll workers will be paid more because voting hours are longer.
?Only if the county commission votes to do so,? Worley said.
State and county government usually split the cost. Probate Judge Paul Thomas said the officials are currently paid $70 a day for 12 hours. He is pushing for a raise to $100 from the state, but said due to the states economic funding crisis, it?s unlikely to take affect before the upcoming election.
The rise of Hispanics will require poll workers who can speak Spanish, according to HAVA because the county may reach the 5 percent threshold of residents who speak a foreign language.
The nation may have online voting within the next few years.
?Whether you like it, that is the way our country is moving. We have to be willing and ready to except changes,? said Worley.