Alabama’s absentee voting extended to Nov. 3 general election, citing COVID-19 concerns

Alabama

Anyone concerned about going to the polls in November with the spread of COVID-19 still around now has another option.

The Alabama Secretary of State’s Office said Monday it is extending the absentee ballot voting policy that it had for the July primary runoff to the Nov. 3 general election.

“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,” Secretary of State John Merrill said in a news release.

The absentee voting is also eligible for Aug. 25 municipal elections, Merrill’s office said.

Voters can access the application online or by visiting or calling their local Absentee Election Manager’s office. They also can call 334-242-7210 to request an absentee ballot.

More than 43,000 Alabamians requested absentee ballots for the state’s primary runoff.

According to Merrill’s office, voters who are concerned about COVID-19 can check the box in the absentee ballot application that reads “I have a physical illness or infirmity which prevents my attendance at the polls. [ID REQUIRED]”

The Southern Poverty Law Center called the absentee extension a “huge victory” for Alabama voters who do not want to risk their health in order to vote.

The center is one of a couple of groups that sued Merrill’s office over voting during the pandemic, claiming voting processes endangered voters vulnerable to illness.

The center said it would continue its case against the Secretary of State’s Office over the lack of curbside voting and other absentee processes that it said put people at risk.

For the Aug. 25 municipal elections, the deadline to register to vote is Monday, Aug. 10. The deadline to submit an absentee ballot application is Thursday, Aug. 20. Absentee ballots have to be either hand delivered by Monday, Aug. 24 or be postmarked by that date.

For the Nov. 3 General Election, the deadline to register to vote is Monday, Oct. 19. The deadline to submit an absentee ballot application is Thursday, Oct. 29. Absentee ballots must be returned to the Absentee Election Manager by the close of business Monday, Nov. 2 or postmarked by that date.

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