Opp to integrate polling places

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Opp City Council on Monday voted unanimously to consolidate the city’s two polling places, effective immediately, saving the city up to $7,000 in the process.

Mayor John Bartholomew said the move came at the recommendation of Councilwoman Mary Brundidge, who said the city could save $3,500 per election – $7,000 in a runoff – by moving the Hardin Street polling place to the Senior Adult Activity Center location on Brantley Street, where the other four districts currently hold elections.

Brundidge said the Hardin Street polling place remained separate from the other districts following a 1985 lawsuit, John Dillard vs. Crenshaw County, which named the City of Opp and established that a minority polling place must be made available to those in the district. City Clerk Connie Smith said a 2013 decision in Holder vs. Shelby County changed that requirement.

Brundidge said, not only would the move save the city money, but she hopes it will also cut down on allegations of voter fraud.

“We’ve had problems with people standing outside the polling place telling people how to vote,” Brundidge said. “There’s even been allegations of people working inside doing the same thing.”

Brundidge said the move will cut two polling workers that would have been in place at Hardin St., and will also eliminate two polling machines that would otherwise be needed.

The change will be in effect for the June 3, 2014, party primaries.

In other business, the council:

• approved the declaration of surplus property from the city and the Opp Fire Department;

• approved the naming of a currently unnamed city street as Metcalf Avenue, and established the firing range it leads to as Johnny Ray Metcalf Memorial Firing Range in honor of former Opp Police Chief;

• approved the fireworks show for the Fourth of July on Lake Frank Jackson, with music and food beginning at 4 p.m. and fireworks beginning at dark; and

• approved the annual Memorial Day Celebration for Mon., May 26, at Peaceful Acres Memorial Park.