Absentee ballots started showing up in county offices and going out in the mail Wednesday, which was the deadline for absentee election managers to be provided with absentee ballots and supplies.
Usually, Alabama voters must fit into narrowly defined categories to be able to vote by absentee. But for the general election, Secretary of State John Merrill has approved absentee voting for any voter who has concerns about the coronavirus.
Here is more information on voting in the general election and voting by absentee.
When is the election?
The general election is Nov. 3.
What is the last day to register to vote?
Oct. 19 is the last day to register to vote in the election. You can get a registration application form online and submit it electronically. Or download the form and mail it to your local Board of Registrars. See the statewide contact list for those boards. In Jefferson County, the board’s email is Jefferson@vote.alabama.gov. The office is in the downtown courthouse, with the mailing address: 716 Richard Arrington Jr Blvd, Birmingham, Alabama 35203-0115. The phone is (205) 325-5550.
To have a registration form mailed to you, call the Voter Hotline at 1-800-274-8683.
Who can vote by absentee?
Voters must state a reason for casting an absentee ballot, and those who want to vote absentee because they want to reduce the risk of exposure to the coronavirus should check the box next to the line that reads: “I have a physical illness or infirmity which prevents my attendance at the polls.”
Other reasons that allow absentee voting are being out of the county for the day or living outside the county; being ill or disabled and unable to go to the polls; being the caregiver of a relative who is ill or disabled; expecting to work a required shift of 10 hours of more that coincides with polling hours; being a poll worker; and being incarcerated
How can I apply to vote by absentee ballot?
Absentee ballot applications may be obtained from and returned to absentee election managers in the voter’s county, usually the circuit court clerk’s office. In Jefferson County’s Birmingham Division, that is at the downtown courthouse, mailing address 716 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd N, Room 500, Birmingham, Alabama, 35203-0102, and the contact number is 205-325-5313. In the Bessemer Division, that is in the Bessemer courthouse, mailing address 1851 2nd Ave. N., Bessemer, Alabama 35020, and the contact number is 205-497-8526.
They also may be obtained online, here.
The absentee ballot itself will then be mailed to approved voters, or it will be handed to them if they apply in person.
What is the last day to apply for an absentee ballot and to cast an absentee ballot?
Oct. 29 is the last day to apply to vote by absentee ballot.
The last day to vote by absentee ballot is Nov. 2, the day before the election. Absentee ballots must be either hand delivered to the circuit clerk’s office by the end of that business day or postmarked on or before that day.
However, voters who are mailing in their absentee ballots are being encouraged not to wait until the deadline because more people are expected to vote by absentee this year, potentially causing delays in delivery by the U.S. Postal Service.
Who is on the ballot?
State and federal races on the ballot include president, U.S. House of Representatives member, one U.S. Senate seat, president of the Public Service Commission, four seats on the state Board of Education, and a list of circuit and district judgeships.
The Republican Party also has certified candidates to run for two seats on the state Supreme Court, two seats on the state Court of Criminal Appeals, and two seats on the state Civil Court of Appeals. But the Democrats have no candidates in those races, making the Republican candidates the presumptive winners.
Other county races also may be on the ballot, depending on where you live. In Jefferson County, races for treasurer, deputy treasurer, tax collector, assistant tax collector, tax assessor and deputy tax assessor also will be on the ballot, along with an uncontested seat on the county Board of Education.
The ballots have not yet been released by the Secretary of State’s Office. But candidates certified to run under the banner of each party may be found at:
Certification of Democratic Candidates on Ballot General Election 2020
Certification of Republican Candidates on Ballot General Election 2020
Certification of Independent Candidate on Ballot General Election 2020
Certification of Constitutional Amendments on Ballot General Election 2020
Certification of Presidential Candidates on Ballot General Election 2020