Secretary of State John Merrill awards Alabama Power, others for polling place help after Zeta

Alabama Secretary of State John H. Merrill and Alabama Power CEO Mark Crosswhite hold the National Association of Secretaries of State Medallion Award Merrill presented to Alabama Power for its work to restore electric service to Alabama's polling places following Hurricane Zeta, which struck days before the Nov. 3 election. (Wynter Byrd / Alabama NewsCenter)

Hurricane Zeta will be remembered as one of the most destructive storms in Alabama history and for its late-season impact – days ahead of the Nov. 3 election. Zeta left many in the state without power, with companies executing a significant response to provide service to both those affected and polling locations for voters to safely cast their ballots.

In acknowledgment of this multifaceted response from the public and private sectors, Secretary of State John Merrill on Wednesday presented six National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) Medallion Awards “to recognize outstanding service and dedication to furthering the mission of NASS.”

Merrill gave medallion awards to Alabama Power, PowerSouth, the Alabama Rural Electric Association, the Alabama Municipal Electric Authority, the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, and the Office of Information Technology for their efforts to ensure polling locations had power and that Alabama would have a smooth and successful election.

“We are incredibly appreciative of the leadership of Alabama Power, and all organizations recognized today, who stepped up during the state’s time of need to protect our democracy. These brave men and women worked tirelessly around the clock to see that every eligible Alabamian had the ability to successfully cast his or her ballot during the general election,” Merrill said.

“On behalf of all the Alabama Power team, it’s an honor to receive this award alongside the other organizations that serve our state,” said Alabama Power CEO Mark Crosswhite. “The damage from Zeta was the third-worst in our company history, requiring a strategic, multiday restoration effort. We appreciate the partnership with the Secretary of State’s office, election officials across the state, and the work of all the utility workers who assisted to restore service to polling locations, ensuring Alabamians had the opportunity to exercise their right to vote.”

The ceremony took place in the Old House Chamber at the Capitol in Montgomery.

Story and images republished with permission of the Alabama News Center.