The Alabama Legislature on Tuesday passed legislation to allow local election officials to fill the ranks of the workers who work the polls during an election with workers who reside outside of the voting precinct in which they are assigned. The poll workers hired would still have to be residents of the county in which they work.
House Bill 312 is sponsored by state Rep. David Wheeler, R-Vestavia.
On Tuesday, Wheeler asked that the Alabama House of Representatives vote to concur with the changes made to the bill by the Alabama Senate. The local boards of registrars would still have to give priority to hiring applicants from within that precinct. The House voted to concur on a 92 to 0 vote.
According to the legislation:
“The appointing board, or a majority of them acting as an appointing board, not more than 20 nor less than 15 days before the holding of any election in their county, shall appoint from the qualified electors of the respective precinct county, necessary precinct election officials, which shall include at least one inspector, to act at each voting place in each precinct.
“Precinct election officials shall be registered voters in the county in which they serve, but are not required to be registered at the precinct in which they serve; provided, that first priority. Provided, first priority may be given to the appointment of poll workers and alternate poll workers who are registered voters at their respective precincts, so long as the board determines that the poll worker is qualified for appointment as a poll worker.”
The sponsors of the bill said that local election officials have told the legislature that finding qualified applicants who are willing to do the poll workers’ jobs in every voting precinct is presenting an excessive burden.
The Alabama Legislature has passed a number of bills seeking to make the voting process more secure. Giving local boards of registrars more latitude in the hiring of poll workers was one suggestion for making sure that the integrity of the Alabama elections is as high as possible.
Thursday will be day 27 of the 2021 Legislative Session. HB312 has now been sent to the governor for her consideration.