Storm damage leads to Fairhope voting station move

Precinct 49 voters to cast ballots at Homestead Village


FAIRHOPE – Damage from Hurricane Sally will require voters in one Fairhope precinct to cast ballots in a new location for the Nov. 3 general election.

The Baldwin County Commission voted Wednesday, Sept. 30, to move the voting station for Precinct 49 from the Fairhope Avenue Baptist Church to the Homestead Village ballroom at 924 Plantation Blvd. in Fairhope. The change will only be for the Nov. 3 election.

After Hurricane Sally hit the area with Category 2 force winds on Sept. 15 and 16, the Rev. Lewis Johnson, pastor of the Fairhope Avenue Baptist Church, contacted Baldwin County Probate Judge Harry D’Olive on Sept. 21 and told him that the church building was damaged to severely to be used in November.

D’Olive asked the commission to declare an emergency to allow a temporary change in voting stations. Under state law, the county must declare an emergency to move a polling place within 90 days of an election, according to commission reports.

During the commission meeting, Commission Chairwoman Billie Jo Underwood said few other public facilities are located nearby in the precinct. The Baldwin County Fairhope Satellite Courthouse is in the precinct, but county practices have been to not use courthouses for voting stations in the past.

The Baldwin County Board of Registrars will mail cards to all Precinct 49 voters to tell them that the polling place has been moved to Homestead Village.

The commission has moved voting stations in the past for several reasons. The most recent move was to relocate the Precinct 23 station from the Belforest Community Center to the Belforest Christian Church in September due to limited parking and a lack of space in the center, according to county reports.

Voting stations have been moved at least five other times since 2000, the report said.