Montgomery Co. Probate Judge Requesting More Money for Upcoming Election Amid COVID-19 Safety Concerns
Montgomery County election officials say they’ll need nearly $87,000 more dollars to make voting in the primary run-off, safer for voters and poll workers amid coronavirus concerns.
Probate Judge J.C. Love, III submitted a budget request change totaling $86,977 to the Montgomery county commission on May 10th, ahead of the July 14th GOP primary run-off. The election was previously scheduled for March 31st, but rescheduled by Governor Kay Ivey.
According to the submitted documents here’s how the additional funds would be spent:
$10,000 for “Extra Help” – The written request explains that the extra personnel is needed for testing equipment and ballot distribution.
$15,000 for “Election Worker Fees” – Alabama has allocated an additional $25 dollars in pay, as an incentive for poll workers during the pandemic.
$12,915 for “Office Supplies/ Minor Equipment” – Judge Love, explained Monday that this money will be used to purchase PPE supplies including gloves, masks, hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies for poll workers.
The largest chunk of money, $56,000, is listed as “Other Miscellaneous Supplies”. As the probate judge explained, these funds are needed to update ballots “styles and sizes” carried over from the postponed election.
There’s also an additional $3,000 requested for “advertising”. Love says that’s necessary because of the change of date, too.
Most of this money will be reimbursed by the state through federal relief funding, but the Montgomery County Commission will have to foot the bill first. Commission vice chair Ronda Walker says the request is a significant increase, in the midst of financial uncertainty for the county .
“We are counting our pennies right now for sure we have yet to see the full financial hit that we are going to take with the lock down that we’ve experienced” Walker said “but we’ve got to take care of our elections its one of our primary responsibilities”.
The county commission will vote on the budget change, Monday June 1st.
In addition to a budget increase, the probate judge also outlined how election day would be run if there aren’t enough poll workers to man all 49 precincts. After reaching out to interested poll workers, Judge Love says there are enough people to carry out the election as planned but that could change. “We will continue to talk to our poll workers and out chief inspectors to assure them that we’re doing everything possible to ensure their safety and protection on election day” he said.
Normally, Montgomery County operates 49 voting precincts with 600 poll workers and 98 chief and assistant inspectors. In case that is not possible this year, Love also submitted a contingency plan with four options that would require less poll workers.
One plan suggests reducing the number of precincts down to 15. The most drastic option, reduces the precincts to just one. The commission will vote on this contingency plan on June 1st, also.
In the meantime, Love says there are poll worker openings. If you’re interested you can still apply through Montgomery County website here.