Merrill: Absentee balloting still an option for runoff voters concerned about coronavirus
Following the postponement of Alabama’s March 31 primary runoff to July 14, Secretary of State John H. Merrill reiterated that Alabamians concerned about the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) can still vote by absentee ballot.
Merrill had previously detailed this as an option when March 31 was still the runoff date, and in a Monday release he explained that this has not changed.
“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,” Merrill stated. “Alabamians can access the application online or by visiting or calling their local Absentee Election Manager’s office.”
Alabama voters are also able to contact the secretary of state’s office at (334) 242-7210 to request an absentee ballot application.
The release from Merrill’s office advised that any qualified voter who determines it is impossible or unreasonable to vote at their physical 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, thus allowing Merrill to encourage voters to check the box which reads as follows (in the case none of the other boxes are more appropriate):
“I have a physical illness or infirmity which prevents my attendance at the polls. [ID REQUIRED]”
For the runoff, the deadline to register to vote is now June 29. Meanwhile, the deadline to submit an absentee ballot application is July 9. The deadline to return an absentee ballot to their absentee election manager is the close of business on July 13, and the last day to postmark an absentee ballot is also July 13. Voters who are eligible to vote pursuant to the Uniformed and Overseas Absentee Voting Act will have until July 14 to postmark an absentee ballot.
“We have worked to provide safe, secure, and free elections for the people of Alabama through offering an extended absentee voting period for the upcoming Primary Runoff Election, and we will continue to see that Alabamians have the opportunity to participate in the electoral process in a way that does not affect their health or well-being,” Merrill concluded.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn