MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Mayoral candidates Steven Reed and David Woods will both be allowed to have a watcher present at the Montgomery Election Center Tuesday night, a judge ordered Tuesday.
David Woods’ campaign filed a petition Monday for a temporary restraining order after the city of Montgomery released a statement saying the election center would be closed to the public on election day.
Woods’ campaign wanted to make sure they could be there to see the process. Reed’s campaign has said they already knew they could be there.
On Monday night the parties had an emergency hearing before Judge Johnny Harwick and reached a consensus on how things would go. Everyone argued their side at the hearing, read the law and reached a consensus. Tuesday evening, Hardwick made the agreement official.
“It is ORDERED, ADJUDGED, and DECREED that each candidate in the Run-Off Election is entitled to have a duly-appointed watcher present at the Montgomery Election Center from the time machines are prepared to process absentee ballots (approximately 5:00 p.m. CST) until all vote counts and tabulations are completed and certified. The duly-appointed watcher shall be allowed to observe the electronic voting machines as allowed at all polling places,” the order states.
Tuesday morning, Christopher Turner, the Montgomery Election Center’s assistant director of elections, told WSFA 12 News that each candidate would be allowed one poll watcher to be present at the center as absentee ballots are being counted. He also reiterated that no candidate for any office has ever been allowed to have poll watchers in the room when the electronic ballots are inserted into the counting machines.
The center, located in downtown Montgomery, is where ballot boxes are taken after polls close. It is typically open to the public and media to view results on an electronic display board on election night.
While the election center will remain closed to the public, a public viewing of the returns will still happen. It will be held at Montgomery City Hall’s Council Auditorium on North Perry Street starting at 7 p.m.