Absentee voting in Municipal, General Elections

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Office of the Alabama Secretary of State

CULLMAN, Ala. – As part of its ongoing series leading up to the 2020 elections, both the Municipal Election Aug. 25 and the General Election in November, The Tribune presents this information on absentee voting provided by the Office of the Alabama Secretary of State and Cullman County Circuit Clerk/Absentee Election Manager Lisa McSwain.

Please note: the deadline to register to vote for the Municipal Election has already passed. You may still apply for an absentee ballot, but you must already be a registered voter.

According to a statement from the absentee election manager

Any qualified elector may vote an absentee ballot by mail or in person at the absentee election manager’s office, by making application in writing, not less than five days prior to the Election and the  applicant must meet one of the following requirements: 

  • The voter will be out of the county or state on Election Day. 
  • The voter has any physical illness or infirmity which prevents his or her attendance at the polls, whether he or she is within or outside the county on the day of election.  
    • NOTE: The rule above (#2 on the application) has also been approved by the Alabama Secretary of State and the Alabama Governor’s Office to use during the COVID pandemic. However, an ID is still required, unless the voter is over the age of 65 and physically incapacitated.
  • The voter works a shift which has at least ten (10) hours which coincide with the hours the polls are open at his or her regular polling place. 
  • The voter is enrolled as a student at an educational institution located outside the county of his or her personal residence which prevents his or her attendance at the polls. 
  • The voter is a member of, or spouse or dependent of a member of, the armed forces of the United States or is similarly qualified to vote absentee pursuant to the Federal Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, 42 U.S.C. 1973ff. 
  • The voter has been appointed as an election officer or named as a poll watcher at a polling place other than his or her regular polling place. 
  • The voter is a caregiver for a family member to the second degree of kinship and the family member is confined to his or her home.
  • The voter is currently incarcerated in prison or jail and has not been convicted of felony involving moral turpitude.   

 

From Secretary of State John Merrill: Rule for absentee voting during Aug. 25 Municipal Election

Absentee Voting During State of Emergency – Municipal Elections of 2020.

(1) Pursuant to 17-11-3(e) of the Code of Alabama, and without limitation, due to the State of Emergency issued by the Governor of Alabama on March 13, 2020, as amended, as well as the National Emergency declared by the President of the United States on March 13, 2020 related to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus known as COVID-19, and by request of the Alabama League of Municipalities on behalf of all Alabama municipalities scheduled to hold an election in 2020, any qualified voter who determines it is impossible or unreasonable to vote at their voting place for the Municipal Elections of 2020 due to the declared states of emergency, shall be eligible to check the box on the absentee ballot application which reads as follows:

“I have a physical illness or infirmity which prevents my attendance at the polls. [ID REQUIRED)”

(2) Any qualified voter of this state who applies and successfully submits an application, with proper identification, for an absentee ballot pursuant to this Emergency Administrative Rule shall be eligible to vote an absentee ballot for the Municipal Elections of 2020.

(3) All Municipal Clerks and any other election officials of this state are hereby directed and instructed to follow this Emergency Administrative Rule and accept all absentee ballot applications filed hereunder immediately.

Rule for absentee voting during General Election Nov. 3

Absentee Voting During State of Emergency-General Election 2020.

(1) Pursuant to 17-11-3(e) of the Code of Alabama, and without limitation, due to the State of Emergency issued by the Governor of Alabama on March 13, 2020, as amended, any qualified voter who determines it is impossible or unreasonable to vote at their voting place for the General Election on November 3, 2020 due to the declared states of emergency, shall be eligible to check the box on the absentee ballot application which reads as follows:

“I have a physical illness or infirmity which prevents my attendance at the polls. [ID REQUIRED)”

(2) Any qualified voter of this state who applies and successfully submits an application, with proper identification, for an absentee ballot pursuant to this Emergency Administrative Rule shall be eligible to vote an absentee ballot for the General Election on November 3, 2020.

(3) All Absentee Election Managers and any other election officials of this state are hereby directed and instructed to follow this Emergency Administrative Rule and accept all absentee ballot applications filed hereunder immediately.

How to get an absentee ballot

Visit the Absentee Elections Office in the Cullman County Courthouse at 500 Second Ave. SW, Room 303, or call 256-775-4654. 

You can download the Aug. 25 Municipal Election absentee ballot application at www.sos.alabama.gov/sites/default/files/voter-pdfs/absentee/MuniAbsenteeAppFillable.pdf.

You can download the Nov. 3 General Election absentee ballot application at www.sos.alabama.gov/sites/default/files/absentee-forms/RegularAbsenteeAppFillable%20Cullman%20County.pdf.

If you get your application online, you will need to print and complete the application and either mail or hand deliver the application to the Absentee Election Manager’s office.

Mail to: Absentee Election Manager, 500 Second Ave. SW, Room 303, Cullman, Alabama, 35055

Only one application may be placed in the same envelope; multiple voters in the same household should apply separately, and separate applications should be filed for the municipal and general elections. A copy of your valid photo identification must be submitted along with your application.

Completed absentee applications must include the Alabama residence where the voter is registered to vote, even if the ballot is to be mailed to another address where the applicant/voter regularly receives mail. If you have moved and have not updated your voter registration, you should contact the Cullman County Board of Registrars at 500 Second Ave. SW, Room 112, Cullman, Alabama, 35055 and update your address prior to applying for an absentee ballot.  You may contact the Board of Registrar’s office at 256-775-4750. (The last day a voter can change his or her address or register to vote for the General Election is Oct. 19, 2020.)

Absentee ballot applications must be received in the office no later than the fifth day prior to the election

Receiving your ballot

McSwain said applications for absentee ballots are processed the same day they are received and mailed to voters via the U.S. Postal Service.

When you vote

If you mail in your absentee ballot, it must be postmarked no later than the day prior to the election and received by the absentee election manager no later than noon on Election Day. 

If hand-delivered, the ballot must be in the office of the absentee election manager by the close of business on the day prior to the election.

IMPORTANT DATES

  • Last day to apply for an absentee ballot for the Municipal Election: Aug. 20
  • Last day to return an absentee ballot for the Municipal Election: Aug. 24 (either postmarked by USPS or hand-delivered to the absentee election manager’s office)
  • Municipal Elections are Aug. 25.

 

  • Last day to apply for an absentee ballot for the General Election: Oct. 29
  • Last day to return an absentee ballot for the General Election: Nov. 2 (either postmarked by USPS or hand-delivered to the absentee election manager’s office)
  • The General Election is Nov. 3.

 

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W.C. Mann

craig@cullmantribune.com