Record number of Alabamians register to vote for 2016 election
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — 584,252 new voters have registered in Alabama, according to the State Secretary of State’s Office, which is the largest number in state history. In total, Alabama now has 3,330,802 registered voters.
“When we took Office in January of 2015, we committed to make sure every eligible U.S. citizen that is a resident of Alabama be registered to vote and have a valid photo id. With the help of our very capable team and the people of Alabama we have made great strides to accomplish this goal, and for that I say thank you,” Secretary of State John Merrill (R-Ala.) wrote in a press release.
Merrill’s office reported a surge in applications before the deadline last Monday, Oct. 24. The Secretary predicted that he would see the highest number of registrations ever, a prediction that ultimately came true.
In addition to registering, participating voters in Alabama are also subject to the state’s voter ID law. Upon checking-in at their precinct, voters must present one of the pre-approved forms of identification, such as an Alabama driver’s license. If a person does not have one of the approved forms of ID, he or she may apply to get one from the state for free.
While the presidential race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton has gotten the lion’s share of the press, Alabama’s state government and various localities have important offices up for grabs as well. On the federal level, the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Richard Shelby (R) is in contention, as are the seats of Alabama’s seven U.S. House Representatives. Statewide, Alabamians will consider fourteen amendments to the state constitution that can be approved with a majority of the vote.
Alabama voters also need to be careful not to snap a photo in their voting booth. “Voting selfies” are expressly legal in 21 states and the District of Columbia, but they are banned in Alabama. According to the legal researchers at Vox, absolutely no photos of ballots are allowed; voters have “a right to cast a ballot in secrecy and in private.”