Sheila Tyson was determined to have her say.
The Jefferson County commissioner whose resolution to open the courthouse for absentee Saturday voting declared that commissioners who voted against the matter going onto today’s agenda were wrong to not open the courthouse.
Arguing for in-person absentee voting on two Saturdays in October, Tyson said the underlying problem is voter suppression.
“Voter suppression is rampant here in the state of Alabama because that’s the only reason I can see why these doors are not open,” she said. “I’m not going to sit up here and act like I don’t have a problem with you (not) turning a key, opening the door and letting the clerk set up her employees up here for the taxpayers that pay for this building to come in and vote.
“I do have a problem with it,” Tyson continued. “I am highly disappointed in the 21st century that this is still going on.”
Absentee ballots still can be requested and then returned via mail or submitted at the courthouse during regular business hours.
Commissioner Lashunda Scales, who sided with Tyson on the matter at Tuesday’s committee meeting, said the next step is to get lobbyists to push for legislation that establishes Saturday voting.
During the pandemic two years ago, voters lined up at the courthouse to apply for absentee ballots, fill them out and submit them at the same time. Same day absentee voting has been legal in Alabama but was not popular until the pandemic, when people used the protocol out of fear of crowded polling places on election day and of the postal service’s ability to deliver the absentee ballots on time.
At that time, the commission did open the courthouse on Saturdays to handle the flow of people wanting to apply for absentee ballots and vote on the same day.
Oct. 24 is the deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 8 election. You can register online here.
Nov. 1 is the last day election officials will accept applications for absentee ballots that are mailed in, and Nov. 3 is the last day to apply for absentee ballots in person. Go here to find your county and apply for an absentee ballot.
The last day to turn in the filled out absentee ballots by hand to election officials is Nov. 7, and absentee ballots mailed in must be received by noon on election day.