2020 election

Polling Place Changes Prompt Jefferson County to Send Out New, More Colorful Cards

Voting in the time of COVID requires masks and social distancing. (Photo by Solomon Crenshaw Jr.)

Barry Stephenson frequently has attended meetings of the Jefferson County Commission this year as polling places have said, ‘Thanks; no thanks’ to hosting elections during a pandemic.

The county registrar stood before commissioners during their committee meeting Tuesday, again announcing a change in a polling place.

“I hope this is the last one I bring before you,” he said. “It’s been interesting. We’ve been told to leave over the summer, and we found replacements.”

The latest change is from the George Ward Tennis Center to the Unitarian Universalist Church, but there have been plenty of others, enough that voters whose polling places changed have gotten new notices mailed to them.

Those notices are now 6-inch-by-9-inch multicolored cards, not the small postcards that had been used.

“It stands out more so we’re getting better acknowledgement, better notice by people when they go to the mailbox,” Stephenson said. “It has been very effective.”

The change from the tennis center was made because it was not big enough to keep poll workers and voters sufficiently separated.

“It’s very, very, very small,” Stephenson said. “I had a lot of concerns about voting and you can’t really social distance. And with the turnout we’re looking at (for the Nov. 3 general election), you’re just not able to social distance.”

Instead of the tennis center, voters will cast their ballots at the Unitarian Universalist Church at 4300 Hampton Heights Drive off West Valley Avenue. Despite having Homewood on multiple sides, the registrar’s office confirmed the church is in Birmingham.

The county registrar added that the Birmingham library board voted to allow the use of its six libraries that have been used as polling places before but that were not used in the July 14 runoff.

“We’re coming back on November 3 to those six,” he said. “That’ll help also as we manage the turnout.”