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Common issues on absentee applications and ballots by voter

Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 12:19 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - The Office of the Absentee Election Manager has already identified some common issues with absentee applications and ballots.

“The main thing we are seeing is people filling out the application and not signing at the bottom and we’ve got to have that signature, or they don’t mark their reason for voting absentee,” says Houston County’s absentee election manager Carla Woodall.

The second option listed under the reason for voting absentee is coronavirus.

Another issue is applicants using old addresses.

“While we can still process it, it becomes a provisional ballot that creates extra paperwork and length of time before that ballot can be counted,” says Woodall.

When it comes to filling out the ballot, there are some things you could do that could lead to your ballot or parts of it being rejected like voting for more than one candidate for a single race.

“Programming has been perfected on that and the machines have been tested. They have been tested for each election to make sure that that programming is in place and those have already been tested for this election,” says Woodall.

You can do a straight party vote and choose a candidate of a different party and the programming will override that one section.

The manager also wants to remind voters that there is a backside to the ballot that includes amendments.

Once you’re done, only one ballot should be placed in an envelope and returned via the United States Postal Service or FedEx and UPS.

If you have concerns about returning your ballot via mail, there is the option to apply, vote, return, and notarize your ballot in a single visit to the office.

Bu, Woodall says she would not serve as absentee election manager if she did not have faith in the laws and procedures the state of Alabama has in place like it many safeguards relating to the mail-in process.

“If someone does not receive their ballot, we have processes in place to be able to reissue a second ballot and spoil that first one and so it would not count,” says Woodall.

It’s just a matter of time.

“We are on top of all of this so everything is fixable as long as you do it before the deadlines are up. Once the deadlines hit my hands are tied,” says Woodall.

If you applied for and received an absentee ballot but decide you’d rather vote in person, that is possible but means more paperwork and your vote will take longer to be counted because you’ll have to fill out a provisional ballot.

Those votes won’t be counted until 7 days after the election.

UPS and FedEx offer live tracking and you can check the secretary of state’s website to see when your absentee ballot was issued and when it is received.

Absentee applications must be received by October 29th at the end of the business day.

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