Elections Center closed to the public for Tuesday’s mayoral runoff

(Source: WSFA 12 News)
Updated: Oct. 7, 2019 at 10:30 AM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Montgomery’s runoff election is set for Tuesday, but if you want to visit the Montgomery County Election Center to watch the results come in, you’re out of luck.

Instead, public viewing of the returns will be held at Montgomery City Hall’s Council Auditorium on N. Perry Street starting at 7 p.m.

Monday, the City of Montgomery issued a statement confirming the election center, located on Washington Avenue, will be closed to the public Tuesday for “safety, integrity and traffic control purposes.”

Only “essential election personnel” will be allowed inside. The Election Center made the recommendation for public closure and the City agreed, according to the statement.

WSFA 12 News is hosting a Montgomery mayoral debate ahead of the runoff election between Steven...
WSFA 12 News is hosting a Montgomery mayoral debate ahead of the runoff election between Steven Reed and David Woods.(Source: WSFA 12 News)

The runoff will present citizens with two options for their next mayor: Montgomery County Probate Judge Steven Reed, who oversees the county’s elections, and businessman David Woods, who owns WCOV-TV, Montgomery’s Fox affiliate.

The August election that resulted in a mayoral race runoff suffered from several issues that delayed the posting of returns Director of Elections Darryl Parker referred to it as a “calamity of errors” that caused major delays in getting results that night including printing issues that required another printer to be brought in from Birmingham. And Parker said some poll workers apparently pulled thumb drives out of voting machines too early before all information has been downloaded.

The ordeal prompted an investigation by Secretary of State John Merrill’s office, though nothing criminal was found. He’s also said he’ll have 10 poll observers who will travel to every precinct during the runoff at Mayor Todd Strange’s request.

While citizens will not be allowed inside the Election Center as they have been in previous elections, a representative from Merrill’s office, as well as the Montgomery city clerk, will be in the counting room during to provide any support that’s needed.

Christopher Turner, Assistant Director of Elections, said 618 civilian election volunteers will work the election. He said they have all received training and are familiar with the equipment and process.

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