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Officials: Polls will open at 7 a.m., despite storm hassles

Sample Ballot Calhoun County Nov. 3 2020 election

Not everyone in Calhoun County can expect to have electricity Tuesday morning, but political power should be flowing just fine.

Local and state officials say polls will open as normal at 7 a.m., with some form of electricity hooked up at every polling place — not just near Anniston but statewide.

“All 1,980 of our polling sites will be open tomorrow,” Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said Monday. “They’ll have a direct power source or they’ll be hooked to a generator.” 

Excitement — and tension — has been building for weeks around the Tuesday election, in which voters will decide between Donald Trump and Joe Biden in the presidential race.

Alabama will also elect a U.S. senator. All seats in the U.S. House of Representatives will be up for grabs, and Alabama will vote on a number of state and local constitutional amendments, among other things on the ballot. 

The 2020 election process has been beset by an almost farcical number of obstacles, from the COVID-19 pandemic to Hurricane Zeta, which hit Alabama last week and left thousands without electricity. On Monday morning, nearly 6,000 Calhoun County households were in their fifth day without power. 

Even so, voter turnout Tuesday is likely to be high. Merrill predicts turnout between 68 percent and 75 percent, higher than in any election in modern memory. That amounts to 2.5 million to 2.8 million voters, far more than have ever gone to the polls in Alabama. 

It’s likely voters will have to wait in line at some polling places, election officials say, though it’s hard to predict where.

“There should be a high volume of people voting,” said Carol Lorenzo, chairwoman of the Calhoun County Board of Registrars. “You’ll just have to be patient.”

Masks are not required at the polls, though election officials are encouraging people to wear them to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The pandemic has also led to a surge in absentee voting: Merrill said about 300,000 people have already voted absentee in the state, more than three times the highest number in past elections. 

Here’s a look at some of the other issues and races on the ballot, with links to previously published stories:

• A choice between Democratic challenger Adia McClellan Winfrey and incumbent Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Saks, for a U.S. House seat.

Capitol & statewide reporter Tim Lockette: 256-294-4193. On Twitter @TLockette_Star.