2020 election

Today is the Deadline to Apply to Vote by Absentee

People have been lining up at the Jefferson County courthouse to apply for absentee ballots. (Photo by Tom Gordon)

Today is the last day to apply for an absentee ballot.

So if you have decided that in-person absentee voting is your best option, it’s time to bite the bullet and go line up at the courthouse.

There, you can get your ballot and return it at the same time, if you want. Or you can return it to the clerk’s office Friday or Monday; or you can mail it so long as it is postmarked by 5 p.m. Monday.

If you apply for an absentee or cast your ballot at the Jefferson County clerk’s offices, there are workers who can help with the paperwork, including getting the ballot witnessed and notarized. If you live and vote in the Birmingham division, go to the clerk’s office in the downtown courthouse. If you live and vote in the Bessemer division, go to the clerk’s office in the Bessemer courthouse.

Technically, you can still go to the Secretary of State’s website and download an application for an absentee ballot, which you’ll find here. But be aware, time is short. You’d have to print it, fill it out and mail it by the end of the day today. Then your ballot would have to be returned to you, and you’d have to fill it out and have it postmarked by 5 p.m. Monday or returned in person to the clerk’s office by close of business Monday.

Absentee voting has skyrocketed this year because Secretary of State John Merrill has approved absentee voting for any voter who has concerns about exposure to the coronavirus at the polls. On the application, you can check the box next to the line that reads: “I have a physical illness or infirmity which prevents my attendance at the polls.”

So far, more than 301,000 absentee ballots have been requested with about 241,000 returned, WBHM reported. That shatters the previous record from 2012 of 89,000 absentee ballots cast.

Getting ready to vote? Find the information you need to make your decisions in the 2020 BirminghamWatch Voter Guide