County’s new representative introduces first legislation

New elected House District 49 State Representative Cam Ward is introducing his first two bills as a member of the Alabama Legislature.

Ward wants to making the opening and closing times for polling places across the state uniform.

He also wants to set a deadline for the reporting of unofficial election returns to the Secretary of State.

&uot;Currently every county has the choice of when their polling places will stay open. This is very confusing for a lot of people who live in different counties but in the same media market,&uot; he said.

He explained that is &uot;because they hear results and announcements about polling hours on TV, but their polling hours may be totally different.&uot;

Under existing law, polling places are to open no later than 8 a.m., but they shall close no earlier than 6 p.m. and no later than 7 p.m.

They are also required to stay open not less than 10 consecutive hours.

Ward’s bill would require polling places to open no later than 7 a.m., close no earlier than 7 p.m. and stay open for no less than 12 consecutive hours.

The freshman Republican representative said he has 13 Republican and Democrat co-sponsors for his polling hours bill.

Ward also reported that under existing law there is no deadline for reporting unofficial election results to the Alabama secretary of state.

A bill introduced by Ward also with both Republican and Democrat co-sponsors would require every county which is on-line with the Alabama Voter Information Network to report unofficial election returns from a polling place to the secretary of state no later than three hours after a polling place closes.

The legislative session is not set to begin until March 4.

Ward said between now and then, he will work to gain the support of other members of the legislature for his legislation.

Before Ward’s bills can become law, they must go through the senate as well.

&uot;Like every other bill in the House, it just depends on how bogged down the legislature gets with the budget this year,&uot; he said.

Ward’s polling place bill would

become effective the first day of the third month after its passage and approval by the governor.

His unofficial election return voting deadline bill would become effective immediately upon its passage and approval by the governor