Demopolis City Council discusses voting locations

Published 1:00 pm Tuesday, January 9, 2024

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During the Jan. 4 Demopolis City Council work session, Mayor Woody Collins said the Council has “kicked around for two years now [discussions] about voting places.” 

With 2024 slated as an election year, the Council wants to narrow down a single location for Demopolis residents to vote. Council members discussed voting at length, but did not make any decisions on a location due to Councilmember Nathan Hardy’s absence from the meeting.

Collins said that citizens are tired of going from one voting location to another, and some don’t know where to vote in their district. Collins suggested moving all voting to the Civic Center on North Commissioners Avenue.

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“We have full and complete control of the Civic Center. We control what comes and goes,” said Collins. “We don’t know when the churches or the schools will be available, or when they might not be available.”

Collins emphasized that the election season is not far off, and the city needs a solid plan on how to handle voting. Collins said that, in his opinion, going to a single polling location will solve “a lot of headaches” of having voters going all over the city to vote.

Collins noted that one of the issues with the current set up is that some poll sites are understaffed while others are overstaffed. If all voting took place in a central location, then poll workers could be more evenly distributed and available to help voters.

Councilmember David McCants shared Collins’ concern, noting that during the last election season, The Church Aflame on Highway 80 had people from every district because many people didn’t know where to go within their district. Councilmember Jim Stanford also said that the last voting year created a traffic nightmare from the Mormon Church to Church Aflame.

“This is something we need to solve,” said Collins.

Councilmember Bill Meador said that he is in favor of the Civic Center unless there is a more central location to house the polls. Collins said that City Clerk Sam Gross has pushed for the New Era building for several years. However, the New Era building is expected to be demolished in the coming months to make way for Gov. Ivey’s Healthcare and Science School.

As for using the schools as a voting site, Collins said he has been asked not to use the schools as a polling location.

“I understand it. In this crazy world we live in, it would be a security issue. So I am perfectly fine with excluding the schools,” said Collins.

The Council will discuss voting locations again at a later meeting when all members are present.

The next Demopolis City Council meeting will be on Jan. 18 at 5:15 p.m. The work session will begin at 4:45 p.m.