Ala. Admin. Code r. 307-X-1-.11 - Opening The Polls

(1) All poll officials shall report to the voting place at least 30 minutes before the polls open. Where precinct ballot counters are used, each counter must be tested in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions to ensure that all vote counters are set at zero and to prepare the equipment for voting. The test shall be performed in the presence of two watchers of opposite interests, if they are present. Any error must be reported to the custodian and no vote shall be tabulated on the equipment until it is repaired or a substitute is provided. A malfunction of a precinct counter shall not prevent the opening of the polls, and the receipt of ballots shall proceed using the procedure described under "equipment failure" below. When the test has been satisfactorily completed, the inspector, the ballot clerk, and the watchers, if any are present, shall sign a certificate to that effect.
(2) Where vote recorders are used, the poll officials shall compare the ballot pages of each recorder with a sample ballot for that precinct to determine that they agree and shall also vote every position of a specially marked demonstration ballot and compare the punches with the pages of the recorder to determine that they agree. No recorder may be used in a precinct until it has been so verified.
(3) Where central ballot counters are used, the Judge of Probate, Sheriff, and Circuit Clerk are to inspect the ballot boxes to be used in the election to determine that they are empty. They then shall lock and seal the ballot boxes prior to the boxes being issued to the Inspectors of the respective precincts. The locks used shall be the type that utilizes a key or combination, and the seals used may be plastic, metal, or other material; however they shall be numbered. The design of the ballot box should enable the lock to be placed on the portion of the ballot box which would cause no contents to be removed without removing the lock. The numbered seal is placed on the insertion door of the ballot box whereby the numbered seal would have to be removed prior to any ballot being placed into the ballot box. The locking and sealing of the ballot boxes shall be done in public and the sheriff shall give proper notification. Also present at the locking and sealing of the ballot boxes may be a representative of any political party who has a candidate whose name is contained on the ballot of the election which is to be held, and any other witnesses that may be present. The Judge of Probate, Sheriff, and Circuit Clerk shall prepare a statement which certifies that the ballot boxes were empty, locked, and sealed prior to the election, and prior to the ballot box being delivered to the Inspector of the respective precincts. This statement shall also list the date, time, and place of the locking and sealing, and shall have included the seal numbers imprinted on the seals which are placed on the ballot boxes. The original copy of this statement shall be made part of the permanent record of election file and kept on file with the Judge of Probate. The duplicate copy of this statement shall be filed with the Sheriff.
(4) Prior to opening the polls, the Inspector of the precinct along with one other election official, shall remove the numbered seal from the insertion portion of the ballot box and verify that the ballot box was empty. If for any reason the ballot box seal has been broken or the ballot box contains any material, the Inspector shall immediately call the Sheriff, prior to the opening of the polls. The numbered seal that has been removed from the insertion portion of the ballot box shall be placed in an envelope and the "Ballot Box Inspection Report" shall be completed. (This form shall state that the ballot box was empty prior to the polls being opened and be signed by the Inspector and the other polling officials of the respective precinct.) Under no circumstances shall the ballot box be opened at the precinct.

Author: Charles E. Grainger, Jr.


Ala. Admin. Code r. 307-X-1-.11
New Rule: Filed February 10, 1998; Effective March 17 1998. Amended: Filed February 7, 2002; effective March 14, 2002.

Statutory Authority: Code of Ala. 1975, ยง 17-24-7(b).

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