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Alabama Code Title 45. Local Laws § 45-4-111

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(a) As used in this section:

(1) “Automatic tabulating equipment” shall mean apparatus which automatically examines and counts votes recorded on paper ballots or ballot cards and tabulates the results.

(2) “Paper ballot” shall mean a printed paper ballot which conforms in layout and format to the electronic voting system in use.

(3) “Ballot card” shall mean a tabulating card on which votes may be recorded.

(4) “Ballot label” shall mean the cards, papers, booklet, pages, or other material which contain the names of offices and candidates and statements of measures to be voted on and which are used in conjunction with ballot cards.

(5) “Ballot” shall mean ballot cards or paper ballots.

(6) “Counting center” shall mean one or more locations selected and designated by the county commission or the municipal governing body, as the case may be, for the automatic counting of ballots in the election.

(7) “Electronic voting system” shall mean a system in which votes cast by paper ballots or ballot cards, may be tabulated by automatic tabulating equipment.

(8) “Voting device” shall mean an apparatus in which paper ballots or ballot cards are used in connection with either a punch device for the piercing of ballots by the voter, or a device for marking ballots with ink or other substance, or any other method for recording votes on ballots in such way that the ballot may be tabulated by means of automatic tabulating equipment.

(b)(1) In Bibb County, the county commission, or the governing body of any city or town in the county may adopt;  experiment with;  acquire by purchase, lease, or otherwise, or abandon any electronic voting system authorized by this section for use in all elections in the county or city or only for use thereof in certain elections. Further, may use such system in combination with paper ballots;  and may use such system in all or a part of the voting districts within its boundaries. The local authorities, on the adoption and acquisition of an electronic voting system, shall provide for payment therefor in such manner as they deem for the best interest of the locality. Provided, however, the county or city shall not be required to furnish electronic voting systems in voting precincts or districts that contain less than 600 voters.

(2) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section or of any other law, the ballots to be counted by means of electronic or electro-mechanical devices shall be of such size, layout, and texture, and shall be printed in any type of ink or combination of inks that will be suitable for use in the automatic counting devices.

(c) No electronic voting system shall be used in any election unless it satisfies the requirements of Section 17-9-7 and:

(1) Permits each voter, at other than primary elections, to vote for the nominees of one or more political parties and for independent candidates;

(2) Permits each voter to vote for candidates in the primary of the political party of his or her choice;

(3) Prevents a voter from voting for the same person more than once for the same office;

(4) Is suitably designed for its purpose and in such a manner that it may be used safely, efficiently, and accurately in the conduct of elections and the counting of ballots;  and

(5) Accurately and correctly records and counts every vote cast when properly operated.

(d)(1) If automatic tabulating equipment which requires the use of ballot cards is used:

a. Ballot labels used in conjunction with ballot cards shall, as far as practicable, be in the same order or arrangement as provided for ballots for elections conducted under the general law, except that the names of all candidates for each office shall be arranged in alphabetical order according to their surnames or last names, and except that such information may be printed in vertical columns or on a number of separate pages which are placed on the voting device.

Following the listing of particular candidates, the pages placed on the voting device shall be of sufficient number to include the names of candidates for any non-partisan offices and any measures on which a voter may be qualified to vote.

In a primary election the pages placed on the voting device may be arranged with the entire ballot label consisting of several groups of pages, so that a separate group can be used to list the names of candidates seeking nomination of each qualified political party, with additional groups or pages used to list candidates for non-partisan offices or measures. Groups of pages shall be identified by color or other suitable means, and voters shall be instructed to vote only for candidates of the party of their choice and, thereafter, to vote for non-partisan candidates or measures.

b. Ballot labels shall be printed in plain clear type in black ink, of such size and arrangement as to fit the construction of the voting device. The labels shall be printed on clear white material or on material of different colors to identify different ballots or parts of a ballot. In primary elections multi-colored ballot labels may be used to identify each political party.

c. On all ballot labels the titles of offices and the names of candidates shall in all election primaries be arranged in vertical columns or in a series of separate pages. The office titles and the name, or an abbreviation of the name of the political party, shall be printed above or at the side of the names of candidates so as to indicate clearly the candidates for each office, the party, and the number to be elected. All candidates for one office shall, insofar as feasible, be grouped on one page. In case there are more candidates for an office than can be printed in one column or on one ballot page, the ballot label shall be clearly marked to show that the list of candidates is continued on the following column or page. In partisan elections the party designation of each candidate shall be printed to the right or below the candidate's name. Arrows may be used to indicate the place to vote for each candidate and on each measure.

d. In partisan elections the ballot labels shall include a voting square or position whereby the voter may by one punch or one X record a straight party ticket vote for all the candidates of one party or may vote a split ticket for the candidates of his or her choice. In such partisan elections the party designation and party emblem of each party shall be printed on the ballot labels immediately above the square or position which permits the straight ticket voting. The name or abbreviation of the name of the party shall appear after the name of each individual candidate seeking nomination by such party or seeking election after nomination as such party's candidate.

(2) If automatic tabulating equipment which requires the use of paper ballots is used, such ballots shall conform to the requirements of Section 17-8-1 et seq.

(3) If either of the above automatic tabulating equipment is used:

a. Paper ballots or ballot cards shall be of the size, design, and stock suitable for processing by automatic data processing machines. Each paper ballot or ballot card shall have an attached, serially numbered, stub or perforated stub, which shall be removed by an election officer before it is deposited in the ballot box, or a place where a number can be recorded and obscured. A record of the number of each ballot issued shall be kept by the election official and such record shall record the name of the recipient of such ballot. The name of the county or other local governmental unit, the district number, the designation, and date of the election, and a facsimile of the signature of the judge or appropriate municipal officer who has caused the ballot to be printed shall be printed on the paper ballot or ballot card stub. Each paper ballot or ballot card shall contain the same serial number as the stub.

b. Sample ballots, which shall be facsimile copies of the official ballot or ballot labels, shall be provided and posted in each polling place on election day as required by law. Sample ballots may be printed on a single page or on a number of pages stapled together.

c. In elections in which voters are authorized to vote for persons whose names do not appear on the ballot, a place shall be placed on the ballot or a separate write-in ballot shall be provided to permit voters to write in the title of the office and the name of the person or persons for whom they wish to vote.

(e)(1) Prior to any election at which electronic voting devices are used, the probate judge or appropriate municipal officer shall have prepared the voting devices, voting booth, ballot boxes, ballot labels, ballot cards or paper ballots, “write-in” ballots, and such other records and supplies as required.

(2) Unless the voting device enables the voter to mark his or her choices in secret, the sheriff or appropriate municipal officer shall provide voting booths for each voting box or voting center, which shall be of a size and design so as to enable the voter to mark his or her ballot in secret. The probate judge or appropriate municipal officer shall determine the number of voting devices and voting booths to be provided.

(f)(1) The election official shall arrive at the polling place 30 minutes before the opening of the polls, open the voting devices, and examine them to see that they are in proper working order. They shall open and check the ballots, supplies, records, and forms and they shall also post the sample ballots and instructions to voters.

(2) In the event paper ballots are not used, each voter shall be instructed how to operate the voting device before he or she enters the voting booth. If paper ballots are used and the voter needs instructions or assistance, he or she may be provided such assistance or instructions in the manner provided by Alabama law as it applies to use of paper ballots.

(3) Any voter who spoils his or her paper ballot or ballot card may return it and secure another. The word “spoiled” shall be written across the face of the ballot and it shall be placed in the envelope for spoiled ballots.

(4) After the voter has marked his or her paper ballot or ballot card, he or she shall place the paper ballot or ballot card in the box provided or place the ballot inside the envelope provided and return it to an election officer, who shall remove the stub and deposit the envelope with the ballot inside the ballot box. No ballot card from which the stub has been detached shall be accepted by the election officer in charge of the ballot box, but shall be marked “spoiled” and placed with the spoiled ballot cards.

(5) As soon as the polls have been closed and the last qualified voter has voted, all unused ballots shall be placed in a container and sealed for return to the sheriff or appropriate municipal officer. If the ballots are to be tabulated in the polling place, the counting equipment used shall have an element which generates a printed record at the beginning of its operation which verifies that the tabulating elements for each candidate's position, each question, and the public counter are all set to zero, and with an element which generates a printed record at the finish of its operation of the total number of voters whose ballots have been tabulated, the total number of votes cast for each candidate, and the total number of votes cast for, or against any question appearing on the ballot. If the ballots are to be counted centrally, the ballot box shall be opened, and any ballots containing write-in votes may be separated, counted, and tabulated on a standard form provided for this purpose, or such may be separated, counted, and tabulated at the central place of counting and tabulation as the equipment for counting tabulation dictates. If the voter has cast more votes for an office than he or she is entitled as a result of the write-in vote, such write-in vote shall be counted as being the obvious intent of the voter. Any such ballots shall be fastened to the reporting form for write-in vote tabulation and placed in the ballot container with all other voted ballots for delivery to the counting center. The voting devices shall be placed in their containers and locked or sealed for returning to the sheriff or appropriate municipal officer, and the sealed container shall be returned to the sheriff by chief inspector.

(6) The election inspector shall prepare a report of the number of voters who have voted, as indicated by the poll list, and shall place the original copy of this report in the ballot container so that no additional ballots may be deposited or removed, and shall deliver such container to the counting center. The duplicate copy of this report shall be returned to the sheriff or appropriate municipal officer with other records. The returning officer and the inspector, who shall be members of different political parties when this is feasible, shall forthwith deliver the ballot container to the counting center or other designated place. The judge of probate or appropriate municipal officer may provide that the ballots shall be picked up at the polling places by two authorized returning officers, who shall be of different political parties, if feasible.

(g)(1) Prior to the start of the counting of the ballots, the judge of probate or the appropriate municipal officer shall have the automatic tabulating equipment tested in the presence of authorized watchers for interested persons or designated representatives of political parties, to ensure proper performance and to ascertain that it will accurately count the votes cast for all offices and all measures.

(2) All proceedings at the counting center shall be under the direction of the probate judge or appropriate municipal officer, or persons designated by him or her, and shall be conducted under observation of authorized watchers for interested persons and the public, but no person except those authorized for the purpose shall touch any ballot or ballot card or return. All persons who are engaged in processing and counting of the ballots shall be deputized and take an oath that they will faithfully perform their assigned duties. Each political party having election watchers at the polls shall be entitled to have watchers at the counting center in sufficient number, to be determined by the governing body of the county or city, so as to permit accurate observance of the receipt, handling, duplication, and processing of all ballots.

If any ballot is damaged or is defective so that it cannot properly be counted by the automatic tabulating equipment, a true duplicate copy shall be made and substituted for the damaged ballot. All duplicate ballots shall be clearly labeled “duplicate” and shall bear a serial number which shall be recorded on the damaged or defective ballot. The probate judge or appropriate municipal officer may, prior to the conduct of the official count, conduct an unofficial count in order to provide early unofficial returns to the public.

(3) The return by the automatic tabulating equipment, to which have been added write-in, challenged, and absentee votes, shall, when certified by the board of election supervisors as provided for in Section 17-14-1, constitute the official return of each election. The persons engaged in processing and counting ballots may from time to time release unofficial returns. Upon completion of the count the returns shall be open to the public, but such returns shall be deemed unofficial until canvassed and the results declared pursuant to Sections 17-14-1 through 17-14-25.

(4) If for any reason it becomes impracticable to count all or a part of the ballots with tabulating equipment, the judge of probate or appropriate municipal officer may direct that the ballots be counted manually, following as far as practicable the provisions governing the counting of paper ballots.

(h) Absentee votes and challenged votes shall be cast on paper ballots or on ballot cards and handled in all ways as prescribed by law relative to challenged votes, the absentee ballot law, or any other applicable law.

(i) All challenged votes shall be counted and handled in the manner prescribed by law.

(j) Upon completion of the count, all ballot cards, absentee ballots, challenged ballots, write-in ballots, and paper ballots, shall be securely packaged, suitably labeled and sealed, and delivered to the returning officer of the election. The election officials shall likewise package and seal a true copy of the ballot label used in each voting district or at each voting center. Thereafter these packages are to be retained and disposed of in accordance with the provisions of Section 17-13-5. The election officials shall likewise package and retain all tabulating cards and other materials used in programming the automatic tabulating equipment. The person programming such equipment may have access to these tabulating cards and other materials;  he or she shall not, however, alter or make changes to these materials, but may make copies of the originals and make changes to the copies. The sheriff shall retain and dispose of these materials in the same manner and at the same time he or she is directed by Section 17-13-5 to retain and dispose of paper ballots.

(k) Any election held pursuant to this section may be contested in the same manner prescribed by law for contesting other elections, and a recount of votes may be ordered under the same circumstances and conditions as recounts relative to other elections are ordered. Should a recount of votes be ordered as provided by law, the ballots shall be recounted in the manner directed by the judicial authority.

(l)(1) If the governing body of the county, with the approval of the probate judge, or the governing body of a municipality authorizes and provides for the use of the electronic voting system pursuant to this section, then such governing body shall also designate voting beats and voting boxes within such beat in the county. The order so designating voting boxes shall state (i) the location of the voting beat and box and (ii) the boundaries of the territory in which electors shall reside to be entitled to vote at the voting beat. A copy of this order shall be posted at the courthouse door of the county or at the post office door of any municipality which provides for the use of such electronic voting systems. The limitations prescribed by law as to the number of electors who may reside in a voting district shall not apply to a territory designated hereunder. Boxes may be established for territory or alphabetically. All of the territory designated for a voting box shall be located in the same beat. The county or municipal governing body may by law abolish a voting beat and discontinue the voting box or boxes therein or may extend or restrict the boundary of such voting territory and retain the voting boxes therein or may subdivide such voting territory and designate additional voting boxes therein.

(2) Except as herein expressly provided, in designating voting beats and the territory for which they were established, the county or municipal governing body shall be subject to all other applicable laws regarding the change or establishment of the district of a precinct, including but not limited to the provisions of Section 17-5-1, et seq.

(m)(1) The voting list of any territory which is furnished the election officers serving at the voting box or boxes designated for such territory shall contain the names of all qualified electors of the territory on a single roll;  however, when the roll contains more than 2,400 names the list of qualified electors shall be divided into alphabetical sections of not more than 2,400 names per section. Except as herein provided, the laws applicable to the preparation, distribution, publication, and checking of qualified lists shall apply to the poll list of a territory for which a voting box has been established by the county governing body pursuant to authority hereby conferred.

(2) No elector shall vote at any voting beat and box other than the voting beat and box of the territory of which he or she is a qualified elector.

(n) The county governing body shall determine the number of voting beats and boxes and the location of each box deemed necessary to serve adequately the voters at an election, taking into consideration the nature or character of the election;  provided, that during each election there shall be maintained at least one box for each 600 registered electors, or fraction thereof, residing in the territory designated as a beat. At least 30 days prior to the time when the election officials for an election are required to be appointed, the county governing body shall in writing inform the officers whose duty it is to appoint the election officials of the boxes which will be maintained in the respective beats during the forthcoming election. The officers whose duty it is to appoint election officials shall appoint four of the officials for each of the respective boxes required to conduct elections as shown in the statement of the county governing body.

(o)(1) At each box of each beat, the election officials shall consist of an inspector, a chief clerk, and two assistant clerks.

(2) If an election official should be absent from the box at the opening of such box, a substitute election official may be appointed by the chief inspector in charge of the voting center.

(3) The election officials provided for herein shall be appointed by the same officers that appoint other election officials. They shall perform all duties imposed on election officials by the general law.

(4) The assistant clerk in charge of the voting device shall require that each voter sign a poll list when the punch card or other ballot is given to him or her, which shall contain a serial number, the same as on the paper ballot or ballot card given him or her. A separate poll list of persons casting challenged votes shall be kept by the officials. The poll list shall be signed or the name of the voter recorded as provided in Section 17-7-15.

(5) The inspector shall certify on a statement form furnished with the other election supplies the total number of votes cast on all devices at the voting box and the total number of electors' names recorded on the poll lists at such voting box. Election officials provided for by this section shall be compensated for their services in the same manner and at the same rate provided by law for election officials where voting machines are used.

(6) It shall be the duty of all election officials to see that order is maintained in the polling place. The inspector shall see that the reports required by subsection (f)(6) are filled out for each voting device as required by law and delivered to the proper officials, that the records of the election relating to each device are enclosed respectively in each ballot box or other receptacle provided therefor, and that the list of qualified voters, challenged ballots, and one copy of each challenged vote and any other records relating to the election in general are enclosed in an appropriate box or other receptacle.

(p)(1) If the governing body of the county or municipality authorizes and provides for the use of the electronic voting system hereby authorized, then such governing body may, in its discretion, also provide for holding a school of instruction for those who will actually conduct the election at the polling places. If the governing body of the county or the municipality decides to do so, then not less than five days before an election the authority in charge shall cause to be held a school of instruction for those who will actually conduct the election at the polling places. The sheriff shall notify the election officials of the time and place of the holding of such school and shall also publish notice thereof at least 48 hours before the same is to be held.

(2) No election official shall serve in any election district or at any voting box in which a voting device is used, unless he or she shall have received such instruction and is fully qualified to perform the duties in connection with the voting device, has received a certificate from the authorized instructor to that effect, and is a qualified voter. This shall not, however, prevent the appointment of an uninstructed person as an election official to fill a vacancy among the election officials, and in the event that the governing body does not order the holding of such school of instruction, the appointment of election officials without such school shall be valid.

Cite this article: - Alabama Code Title 45. Local Laws § 45-4-111 - last updated January 01, 2019 |

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