Voting Rights Act in the crosshairs: Supreme Court expected to rule this month

In this 2013 file photo, a voter at the Calhoun County Health Department studies her choices during a recent election. (Anniston Star photo by Bill Wilson)

About 1,500 registered voters in north Anniston will soon get a card in the mail letting them know their polling place will change, officials said Thursday.

The Calhoun County Commission on Thursday unanimously voted to remove the Calhoun County Health Department from a list of polling locations by request of county health officials.

“They were worried about HIPAA violations,” Commissioner Tim Hodges said after the meeting, referring to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which protects medical information. “There were also problems with parking.”

Commissioners signed a resolution that would send those voters from the health department, located on McClellan Boulevard near Anniston Plaza shopping center, to the Anniston City Meeting Center.

“There’s enough room to absorb that increase in voters,” Chairman Don Hudson said during a work session prior to the meeting.

Carol Lorenzo, chairwoman of the Calhoun County Board of Registrars, said Thursday that anytime there are changes to polling precincts, cards are sent to voters informing them of the change.

“But this is more than we’d typically be mailing at one time,” she said.

The commission also unanimously adopted a resolution that will reapportion parts of the county’s districts for state representatives. The change is required under a redistricting act signed by Gov. Kay Ivey in May.

Representatives Randy Wood, K.L. Brown and Barbara Boyd will see changes in their districts, according to the map adopted by the commission on Thursday. Boyd was an outspoken opponent of the bill during the last legislative session.

The commission also entered into an agreement with the Anniston Water Works and Sewer Board to provide phone service, work space and other resources to continue operations in the event of an emergency.

Rodney Owens, assistant general manager of Anniston Water Works, said during the meeting that he appreciated the partnership with the commission.

“That’s a good card to have in our back pocket,” he said.

Owens also commented on the death of Sam Phillips, a retired Anniston Army Depot firefighter and Anniston EMS officer. Phillips served on the Department of Human Resources board as well as several others, commissioners said on Thursday. He died Dec. 31, according to his obituary.

“If everyone of his replacements can be like Sam Phillips, we’ll have some darn good organizations around here,” Owens said.

The commission unanimously voted to appoint Jordyn Trammell, who works for the Calhoun County Circuit Clerk’s Office, to Phillips’ post.

“She’s an attorney and the Circuit Clerk’s office works closely with DHR,” Hodges said during the work session. “I think she’d be an excellent person to fill out his term.”

Phillips’ term will expire in September 2019.

In other business, the commission:

- Dismissed nuisances against properties at 912 N. Ledbetter St.; 20 W. 43rd St.; 1072 Gilberts Ferry Road; and 980 Morrisville Road.

- Issued invoices for work completed at 1009 Carter St. for $334; 3333 W. 14th St. for $284; and 260 Logging Road for $534.

- Declared the following properties as nuisances: 998 Mary Jane Drive; 4231 Saks Road; 65 Fieldstone Way; and 292 Clark Cutoff.

- Extended a contract with Galls LLC for the next two years to provide uniform boots and shoes to staff at the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office and Jail.

- Entered into a 36-month lease agreement with Pitney Bowes to provide automated addressing software to mail tax and license notices for $765 per quarter.

- Approved an application form for farmers interested in vending at the Calhoun County Farmers Market

- Approved a contract with Cremation Services of East Alabama to transport bodies from Calhoun County to facilities for forensic examinations at $210 per transport.

- Agreed to a temporary easement to replace a bridge on Grayton Road.

- Signed a resolution naming Commissioner Lee Patterson as the next chairman for the Calhoun County Commission beginning Jan. 25.

​Staff writer Kirsten Fiscus: 256-235-3563. On Twitter @kfiscus_star.