County residents bombard over registration office

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 26, 2003

With Sept. 9 fast approaching, the Shelby County Board of Registrars has been working at full capacity to keep up with a flux of registration forms and phone calls.

County residents who haven’t already done so have until Friday, Aug. 29 to register to vote on Gov. Bob Riley’s tax and accountability package.

&uot;Just before an election is when we really get a flow,&uot; said board member Mary Anne Thompson. &uot;You might get one (registration form) a day when there is not an election coming up.&uot;

But with a $1.2 billion tax increase and wide-sweeping accountability reforms marked for the ballot, Thompson and the three other employees in the registrar’s office have been flooded with paperwork.

The office was faced with more than 500 registration forms on Monday alone, according to board chairman Marti Dillard.

&uot;People get very involved at the time of an election,&uot; she said.

Nearly 1,500 registration forms were turned in this month, all of which must be processed by Dillard and the rest of the staff in time for the election.

Residents can register to vote in two ways, Dillard said.

Registration forms can be filled out at the Board of Registrars office, located in the Frank C. &uot;Butch&uot; Ellis Community Services Building in Columbiana or they can fill out a postcard registration form and mail it to the registrar’s office.

Postcard registration forms can be picked up at any public library, the Board of Registrars Office, the County Services Building in Pelham or can be downloaded from the Alabama Secretary of State’s website,

Postcard registration forms must be postmarked by 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 29, Dillard said.

The deadline for in-person registration is today at the County Services Building in Pelham and Friday at the Board of Registrar’s office in Columbiana.

For the best results, &uot;We are encouraging everyone to come down (in Columbiana) and register,&uot; Dillard said.

After a registration form is processed, the voter will be mailed a registration card within a couple of days, she said.

Absentee voting is handled by the Shelby County Circuit Clerk’s office. The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot is Sept. 4.

When voters go to the polls Sept. 9, the amendment they will be faced with will read (according to the Alabama Secretary of State’s office): &uot;Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, establishing the Alabama Excellence Initiative Fund which may be used to fund programs including, but not limited to, the furtherance of excellence in public education, college scholarships, healthcare benefits for senior citizens and job training programs to attract new high-paying jobs and otherwise provide for distributing state tax revenues; to adjust income and property taxes; to establish the General Fund Rainy Day Account; to provide for the replenishment of the General Fund Rainy Day Account and the Education Trust Fund Rainy Day Account.&uot;

‘Yes’ will mean a voter chooses to accept the reforms put forth by the governor; a ‘no’ vote will mean a voter chooses not to accept the reforms.

Because of Alabama’s new voter identification law (signed

by Riley after the 2003 regular session of the Legislature), voters will be required to show a form of identification before punching the ballot on Sept. 9.

Acceptable forms of identification can be found on the Alabama Secretary of State web page,

For information on voter registration, contact the Shelby County Board of Registrars at 669-3913.

For information on absentee voting, contact the Shelby County Circuit Clerk’s office at 669-3760