By Freddy Ard, Chairman of the Shelby County Republican Party
One week after the March 13 primary election, the political parties and election officials still had work to do . By statute, Alabamians who voted provisional ballots have their votes considered at that time. Depending on the deficiency - typically a lack of proper identification presented at the polling place - the provisional ballot voter has seven days to submit such verification in order for their vote to be counted.
As Republican Chairman in Shelby County, it was my duty, along with GOP Secretary Andrew Plaster, to be present and assist with the tabulation of those votes. It was while fulfilling that obligation that I was once again reminded of the care, protection, and dignity afforded each vote. A total of 31 provisional ballots were cast, 25 of which were validated. of those, 24 were Republican ballots and only one was a Democrat ballot.
Sheriff Chris Curry, along with Captain Chris Corbell and Krissi Masters from his office, Circuit Clerk Mary Harris, Probate office staff Kim Melton, Chief Clerk, Suzanne Smith and Charity Hogg, and members of the Board of Registrars Carol Hill and Kelli Moore were parties to this proceeding. Each waited patiently for a representative of the Democratic Party to arrive to observe the process. Meanwhile, it occurred to me that I was not merely watching a numerical tabulation, but something far more significant and fundamental. I was observing diligent, dutiful and honorable public servants as they protected the essence of liberty - the individual vote - with sanctity and worth. While my position obligated me to be concerned primarily with the Republican ballots, it was the care given that lone Democratic ballot that reminded me of the deep appreciation I hold for each of these individuals by whom such integrity and professionalism is demonstrated.
Just over one-third of the registered voters participated in this most recent presidential primary election. Given the precious privilege of liberty we enjoy - especially in the context of the enormous difficulties and challenges facing our nation - the irony of such a level of participation is conspicuous. Nevertheless, my most profound impression is the assurance provided by a handful of our Shelby County public stewards who, in relative obscurity, preserve that liberty, one vote at a time.