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The Birmingham News

 

Birmingham employees will deliver voting machines

County has no funds for the task

 

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

BARNETT WRIGHT

News staff writer

 

City of Birmingham employees will deliver voting machines to polling places for next month's municipal elections because Jefferson County cannot afford to perform many of its usual election-related duties, officials from both governments said Monday.

 

"The county will not be involved on the machine and equipment end, but we will still be involved and fulfill our obligations on the voter registration and voter list end," said Barry Stephenson, deputy director of the Jefferson County Board of Registrars.

Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford stressed that the county's financial crisis will have no bearing on the city elections.

 

The county doesn't have the money to pay for personnel to deliver or test voting machines for the Aug. 25 Birmingham elections, officials said Monday.

 

Jefferson County has provided the tabulation machines for past municipal elections.

 

That means the city will have to find a way to deliver 236 voting machines for City Council and city school board elections.

 

Langford said city workers will fill the void.

 

"We will send public works workers over to help deliver the machines to the appropriate places," he said.

 

Stephenson said dozens of general services department staffers have helped program and test the machines, load the equipment onto trucks, transport the machines to the various polling precincts, unload and set up the machines.

 

Today the city council plans to authorize up to $118,000 to pay for the election. The city clerk's office is researching the cost of the six programmers needed for the election and the city also would absorb that cost, Langford said.

 

Because of the loss of the county occupational tax, which has accounted for a quarter of the county's general fund, the county projects it will not have enough money to pay its work force in August and has asked departments to cut their payroll by 67 percent.

 

[bold emphasis added by WheresThePaper.org]

News staff writer Joseph D. Bryant contributed to this report. bwright@bhamnews.com

2009 The Birmingham News. All rights reserved.