MOBILE, Alabama (WALA) – Tuesday will be Lisa Lambert’s fourth municipal election as Mobile City Clerk – but her first since COVID-19.
In addition to having to make sure each polling station has enough ballots and pens, Lambert said she also needs to order hand sanitizer, alcohol wipes and gloves. She said the Alabama secretary of state’s office donated face shields.
The biggest challenge, she said, has been finding enough people to work in the polls.
“And even now, today, inspectors are calling election officials who contracted COVID or a family member, close family member, spouse or child,” she told FOX10 News. “And so they had to give up working on tomorrow’s polls.”
Lambert said she had arrested workers at the last minute in four different ridings. She said she begged and begged people who have done the work in the past to participate. But she added that it could mean longer waits at some polling stations.
The election has the potential to produce one of the biggest changes in city leadership since the Alabama legislature created the city’s current form of government in the 1980s. Three council members are leaving, guaranteeing at least three new faces at Government Plaza.
In the race for mayor, outgoing Sandy Stimpson is running for a third term and benefits from an avalanche of campaign money. Since the start of the year, according to campaign funding reports, the mayor has raised more than $ 1.5 million.
This eclipses its competition. Mobile municipal judge Karlos Finley raised $ 48,467 and lent his campaign an additional $ 21,885 of his own money. Longtime city councilor Fred Richardson said he raised $ 43,407.
Two other candidates, Michael Young and Donavette Ely, did not raise enough money to have to file campaign finance reports.
This year’s election will be the first that Mobile uses electronic poll books, such as those first used in Mobile County during last year’s presidential election. Voters will scan their driver’s license. Lambert said election officials can even print directions to a voter ‘s voting site if the voter is wrong.
The clerk will monitor everything from a conference room on the ninth floor of Government Plaza.
“We’ll be able to see if there are any technical issues with an electronic survey book in all 35 locations,” she said. “This is what I call our command center.”
In 2017, around 4% of voters voted by post. Even though postal voting increased in the 2020 presidential election due to the pandemic, Lambert said she received roughly the same number of postal ballots this year.
“I’m not surprised,” she said. “I’m more disappointed that more people are not exercising their right to elect who they would like to rule our local government. So, it’s more of a disappointment.
Voters who vote on Tuesday won’t necessarily vote at the same polling stations they are used to using in federal and state elections. The Alabama Secretary of State’s office created this website to help voters verify their registration and find their polling stations.
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