The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

July 6, 2009

Polling places to change for access for disabled

By Karen Middleton

Probate Judge Mike Davis told the Limestone County Commission Monday that nine polling places would have to be relocated because they do not comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Davis also requested that the county consider moving its district lines in Districts 1 and 2 because some voters have secret ballot issues.

“We need to comply with ADA and HAVA (Help America Vote Act of 2002),” said Davis. “Americans are given the right of a secret ballot. I realize that 100-percent compliance might be impossible.”

Davis said secrecy is compromised in polling places where county district lines conflict and school district lines conflict with beat lines.

“The Commission District boundary is a straight section line on Sardis Springs Road east to Beatline Road,” wrote Davis in a memo to the commission. “There is no geographic feature that defines the portion between Sardis Springs and Beatline. It also crosses the House District 25 boundary (Mooresville Road).

“This creates two very identifiable voting districts (six voters and four voters) which are in Commission District 2. In many elections the actual vote cast by these voters can be identified from public records, in violation of the law.

“If the Commission District boundary were changed so that the voters were changed to District 1 it would eliminate this problem.”

Davis proposes redrawing the lines and adding the total of 10 affected voters to Commission District 1 with its total of 1,238 voters.

Davis’s second issue was with a school district.

“When the school board districts were laid out, the school board boundary between 1and 7 used a creek to carve out a small voting district of four voters in School Board 7. This is the only School Board 7 in Beat 10, Box 1, Reid.

“We recommend to change the beat line between Beat 7 and 14 to correspond with that portion of the school board boundary on the creek. This places the four voters in Beat 14, Box 1, Tanner, in School Board 7. Then they will be included in a district with 238 voters.

“These two changes will eliminate the voter privacy problem in Limestone County.”

The commission did not act on Davis’s request, but took the matter under consideration.

On the issue of relocating polling places to comply with ADA, Davis makes these recommendations:

• Voting Center 2, moved from National Guard Armory to American Legion Post 49

• Voting Center 5 moved from Piney Chapel Fire Department to Piney Chapel Elementary

• Beat 3, Box 3, Oak Grove-Thach VFD to Wooley Springs Baptist

• Beat 5, Box 1, Leggtown Grocery to West Limestone High School

• Beat 6, Box 2, West Limestone VFD to West Limestone High School

• Beat 6, Box 3, Lester Post Office to West Limestone High

• Beat 7, Pleasant Grove VFD to an unknown location

• Beat 9, Box 1, Clements Baptist Church to Ripley Woodmen of the World

• Beat 10, Box 1, Reid Elementary to Round Island Baptist Church

The proposed changes would eliminate three voting machines and 12 poll workers.

Other business

In other business, the commission approved:

• Contract with Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood for limited architectural and engineering services for renovations to the administrative area of old jail at a fee of $75,460;

• Out-of-state travel for David Freeman, Rodney Jackson and Brooke Rollins to Atlanta July 21-22 to attend Cisco video meetings; and for Joe Moss to travel to Atlanta to attend a National Animal Control Association Training Academy Aug. 23-29;

• Revising pay plans due to federal minimum wage increase effective July 12;

• Transferring of Kelly Adams to appraisal clerk trainee;

• Preliminary and final approval for subdivisions: Maddox Place II (re-subdivide lots 4,7 and 17) in District 1; Graystone Phase I (re-plat lots 25 and 26) in District 1; and Cannon Farms West, in District 4;

• Accepting lease from the Sheriff’s Reserve for a 2009 GMC Sierra Truck for an annual rent of $1.

• Chip seal resurfacing for these roads in District 1: McDonald Lane, Sherry Conn Lane, McCormack Road, Lawngate Road, Hardy Road, Holt-Springer, Williams Street, Blue Spring Circle, Dement and Henry Road.