At the expense of the county, the probate judge of each county has printed all ballots, forms, and other supplies necessary for the conduct of any state or county election. When two parties participate in a primary election, ballots and other election stationery must be printed on a different color paper for each party. The probate judge furnishes these supplies to the sheriff. It is the duty of the sheriff to deliver the supplies, together with boxes containing the ballots and the list of registered voters, to each polling place not later than one hour before the polls are scheduled to open on election day.

Precinct election officials report to the polling place at least 30 minutes before the polls open to organize themselves and prepare for voters. If some of the precinct election officials are absent, the law authorizes substitutes to be appointed by those who are present at the polling place. However, before taking such a step it is wise to contact the appointing board for advice. The missing officials may simply be late or there may be trained alternates who can be sent. Precinct election officials should be informed as to which official they should call in case of problems. If by 7:00 a.m. it is necessary to appoint officials, the inspector(s) present may appoint qualified persons to fill the vacant positions. If no inspector is present, any of the three qualified electors may act as inspectors and appoint clerks, as necessary.

Precinct election officials must take an oath to uphold the law and perform their duties and affirm that they will not discriminate in any manner against any voter because of race, sex, religion or political affiliation.

If specific duties have not been assigned in advance, the precinct election officials must decide who will perform each of the required functions during polling hours.

Precinct election officials should check the physical arrangement of the polling place before the voters arrive.

At the appointed time, an inspector announces that the polls are open. The time for opening the polls is
7:00 a.m.

Election Supplies

The probate judge is responsible for providing election supplies, and the sheriff is responsible for delivering them. Precinct election officials should call one of these officials if supplies are missing.

Poll workers should have a packet of supplies:

  1. ballots (at least one ballot for each registered voter at that place),
  2. the list of qualified voters for the precinct,
  3. precinct election officials and poll watchers oath forms – printed forms on which their oaths may be sworn,
  4. provisional ballot supplies,
  5. poll lists – blank, numbered forms provided for the names of those individuals who vote in the election,
  6. three instructional posters to be posted in each precinct,
  7. envelopes in which returns may be made,
  8. precinct ballot counters,
  9. other stationery or blank forms,
  10. sample ballot,
  11. voter update forms and voter registration forms.

The poll list clerk (first assistant clerk) shall record on a certificate the stub number of the first ballot to be issued and the stub number of the last ballot available. (When the polls close this clerk will record the stub number of the last ballot issued.) These two numbers shall be given to the ballot clerk.

Voting Equipment

Where electronic voting is conducted, voting equipment consists of:

1.   an electronic voting machine for reading and tabulating votes with an attached receptacle for storing ballots and

2.   voting booths for state and county elections and municipalities – one booth or compartment for every 100 voters.

The probate judge shall have each electronic voting device checked before each election. A printout shall be produced to verify the registers are set at zero. Procedures for this check will vary by manufacturer, but all equipment certified for use in Alabama must have a procedure to ensure that all votes register and the public counter is set at zero before the polls open.

The inspector is responsible for ensuring that the check is conducted. A printout shall be produced to verify the registers are set at zero. Any error must be reported to the custodian and no vote shall be tabulated on the equipment until the equipment is repaired or a substitute is provided. However, the poll will remain open and voters will deposit their ballots in a ballot box or other suitable container. If the voting machine cannot be repaired, after the polls close the ballot box will be opened and the ballots counted either by hand or by feeding the ballots into an operable voting machine.

All precinct election officials and at least two watchers of opposing interests (if any are present) sign a certificate indicating that the check has been conducted and that the equipment is in order.

Municipal Elections

When municipal elections fall on a date different from regular state and county elections, the various tasks concerning preparations for the election, such as having the ballots printed, preparing the lists of qualified voters, and superintending the delivery of election supplies to the polling places, are to be performed by the mayor or other chief executive officer of the city. However, the clerk furnishes the list of qualified voters to the election officials at each polling place. Ballot boxes are provided by the municipal governing body, and the cost of the election supplies is an expense of the municipality.