Submitted by Tommy Fulton, Contributing Editor
Call to Order: The meeting was called to order by Tom McGehee, President of the Rotary Club of Mobile.
Bill Kinnaird gave the invocation, followed by Larry Sindel with a song and the Pledge of Allegiance.
Introduction of Guests & Visitors: Jeff Zoghby introduced our Member’s Guests and visiting Rotarians.
Student Guest: Jeff Luther introduced Becca Clark from St. Luke’s Episcopal School.
New Members: N/A
Announcements: Board Meeting next week.
Rotary General Fund Grant Award to Prichard Preparatory/Claire McCarron
Rotary Children’s Foundation Grants – Bo Mattei
Dauphin Island Sea Lab: Jo Ann Moody
Camp Rap-A-Hope: Madi Pickering & Ralph Neal
Mulherin Home: Jamie Yerby & Lenny
Saty Putcha introduced Don Davis, Judge of Probate & Chief Election Officer, Mobile County. Judge Davis spoke on “2020 Elections in Mobile County.
Judge Davis began by pointing out that this year’s primary is in March because of the Presidential Elections. Usually these are held in June. He explained that the Probate Judge is the only judge to have ministerial and executive duties in addition to judicial responsibility.
Other bodies are also heavily involved in our elections. The Mobile County Commission determines the precincts, locations, number of voting machines and the budget for elections.
The Board of Registrars maintains the voter rolls, including work with provisional ballots. Judge Davis said that contrary to popular belief, all valid provisional ballots are counted. The Sheriff, Circuit Court Clerk and Judge Davis are all working together for fair and accurate elections.
In 2016, there were approximately 1,600 poll workers. Mobile has a unique challenge in that our community is in the midst of the Mardi Gras season. This has contributed to the shortage of about 130 workers in our system. This has caused another wrinkle in that our local holiday is one week before the primary. Our deadline is February 17th while the rest of the state has a February 15th deadline.
Judge Davis said that we will have all new voting machines in our 88 voting places. One of the logistics challenges is making sure that we have all of the ballots and supplies in place prior to voting day. Our voting machines are not tied into the internet, therefore we can expect that there will be no Russian hacking here. One week before the elections, all of the machines are tested, inspected and sealed. There is extensive documentation of the chain of custody.
The Probate Judges website will give the most up-to-date results for the day of voting. Also, within seven days, they will canvass all of the provisional votes. To finalize the vote, all parties must be represented for certification.
After the question and answer session, Tom McGehee thanked Judge Davis for his presentation and presented a certificate to him, noting that a donation in his honor had been made to the Rotary International Foundation.
The meeting was adjourned at 1:00 pm.