By Nick Nunn staff writer

The Morgan County Board of Elections and Registration (BOER) approved a $71,300 budget request from the county’s general fund for fiscal year 2015. The BOER’s budget request does not include amounts for employee salaries, benefits, and additional miscellaneous costs, which will be calculated by the county. For fiscal year 2014, the county approved final budget for BOER in the amount of approximately $133,000.

The 2013 fiscal year actual expenditures for the BOER totaled almost $156,000. At the meeting, Elections Supervisor Bobby Howington was able to give the board members a request justification form, which generally described the line item amounts included in the budget request.

The BOER members requested that Howington prepare and present additional information, which would explain the justification for the individual line items in depth.

Howington stated that he would prepare the information for them, and the BOER approved the budget request on the condition that they receive the requested information. The board discussed several upcoming important dates regarding the upcoming general primary, which will be held on May 20.

Poll worker training will take place on April 14 at 9 a.m., and the voter registration deadline for the general primary is April 21. The new precinct sites were recently reviewed by Howington and BOER Member David Moore. Most of the sites were found to be adequate in their current condition.

Moore recommended that the driveway at the Morgan County Recreation Department be widened to accommodate two-way traffic. Moore stated that Gibbs Memorial Baptist Church in Bostwick would need to install fire extinguishers before the election, and he also suggested that they moved the cell phone signal amplifier from the fire station in Bostwick to Gibbs Memorial in order to ensure that the strength of the signal in the fellowship hall will be sufficient.

The board approved four additional people to work in the BOER office and 12 people to work at the polling locations during the election. The number of additional workers meets the required number of workers during the election, but Howington said that he would continue to seek alternates, in case any of the workers cannot be present on election day.

Board Member Avery Jackson recommended that Howington add written and hands-on portions to the poll workers’ training requirements to make sure poll workers will be able to carry out their duties competently.

Howington said that he could look to other counties’ training courses to see what kind of written portions they may already have in place but that he wouldn’t be able to enact those changes before this election cycle.

The board also discussed purchasing a fire-proof box for early voting ballots, noting that the destruction of ballots by fire prior to an election could potentially cause an election to be repeated.