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John Merrill extends absentee voting for August, November elections

Virginia lawmakers approve elections bill that calls for absentee ballot drop boxes.
Virginia lawmakers approve elections bill that calls for absentee ballot drop boxes.(WDBJ7)
Published: Sep. 9, 2020 at 4:31 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WAFF) - Secretary of State John Merrill has officially extended the opportunity for any Alabama resident concerned about COVID-19 to apply for an absentee ballot for the upcoming municipal elections.

“We have worked to provide safe, secure, and free elections for the people of Alabama through offering an extended absentee voting period during the recent Primary Runoff Election, and we will continue to see that Alabamians have the opportunity to safely participate in the electoral process during these challenging times,” stated Merrill.

Any qualified voter who determines it is impossible or unreasonable to vote at their polling place shall be eligible to check the box on the absentee ballot application that is most applicable to that individual. State law allows the Secretary of State to issue absentee voting guidance during declared states of emergency, allowing Secretary Merrill to encourage voters to check the box which reads as follows (in the case none of the boxes are appropriate):

“I have a physical illness or infirmity which prevents my attendance at the polls. [ID REQUIRED]”

For the August 25 municipal elections, the deadline to register to vote is Monday, August 10, the deadline to submit an absentee ballot application is Thursday, August 20, and the deadline to hand-deliver an absentee ballot is the close of business Monday, August 24.

If an absentee ballot is returned by mail, it must be postmarked by August 24 and received by noon on August 25.

If necessary, runoff elections will be held on Tuesday, October 6.

For the November 3 General Election, the deadline to register to vote is Monday, October 19, the deadline to submit an absentee ballot application is Thursday, October 29, the deadline to return an absentee ballot to the Absentee Election Manager is the close of business Monday, November 2, and the last day to postmark an absentee ballot is Monday, November 2.

Voters who are eligible to vote pursuant to the Uniformed and Overseas Absentee Voting Act will have until Tuesday, November 3 to postmark an absentee ballot.

The option to vote in-person on Election Day will still be available for any voter who prefers to do so.

Polling places will once again be equipped with personal protective equipment, sanitation supplies, and more based on the determination of the county.

See below for previous guidelines on applying and casting an absentee ballot:

APPLYING FOR AN ABSENTEE BALLOT

“Amid coronavirus concerns, it is important to remember that Alabamians who are concerned about contracting or spreading an illness have the opportunity to avoid the polls on Election Day by casting an absentee ballot,” shared Secretary Merrill. “Alabamians can access the application online or by visiting or calling their local Absentee Election Manager’s office.”

MORE DETAILS ON APPLYING FOR ABSENTEE BALLOTS ]

Voters are also able to contact the Secretary of State’s Office at (334) 242-7210 to request an absentee ballot application.

CASTING YOUR ABSENTEE BALLOT

In a previous statement, Secretary Merrill detailed the process for casting an absentee ballot as well.

Read the entire statement here:

"In Alabama, we have made a concerted effort to maintain voter privacy while also ensuring the security of our elections process.

When you submit your absentee ballot to your local Absentee Election Manager, your ballot should be sealed in the secrecy envelope and the affidavit envelope that accompanies your ballot. Your ballot will then be marked as received.

After your ballot has been marked as received, your ballot will be stored in a safe and secure location until Election Day, when it will be counted by the absentee poll workers for your county.

At noon on Election Day, the Absentee Election Manager will deliver the voted absentee ballots to the absentee poll workers. In the presence of any poll watchers, the absentee poll workers will then call out the name of each voter who has cast an absentee ballot and shall examine each affidavit envelope to determine if the signature of the voter has been properly witnessed or notarized. Once it is determined that the affidavit has been properly witnessed or notarized and that the affidavit establishes that the voter is qualified to vote by absentee ballot, the absentee poll workers shall open the affidavit envelope and remove the secrecy envelope that contains the actual voted ballot. The secrecy envelopes are set aside unopened to protect the identity of the voter and the secrecy of the voter’s ballot.

After all affidavit envelopes have been processed, the ballots are ready to be inserted into the ballot tabulator for counting. The voted ballots are removed from the secrecy envelopes and inserted into the ballot tabulator. Your ballot is then counted for the candidates of your choice!

The vote totals from the absentee ballots are not produced until after the polls close at 7:00 PM."

To register to vote or download an absentee ballot application, visit AlabamaVotes.gov.

Copyright 2020 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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