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Absentee voting deadline is Thursday

Municipal elections are scheduled for next Tue., Aug. 25, which means the absentee ballot application deadline is Thursday.

Absentee ballot applications must be received in the office of the Absentee Election Manager for your county no later than the 5th calendar day prior to the election.

An absentee ballot returned by mail 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 (but no later than 5 p.m.) on the day prior to the election.

Probate Judge Stacy Brooks said absentee voting is a very safe and secure procedure.

“There is a lot of work that goes on before elections,” Brooks said. “We do that to make sure that each person gets there vote and people aren’t voting more than once. All of those safeguards are in place to make sure it is done correctly.”

Below is a step-by-step guide to absentee voting:

A voter may cast an absentee ballot if he or she

• EXPECTS TO BE ABSENT FROM THE COUNTY on election day

• IS ILL OR HAS A PHYSICAL DISABILITY that prevents a trip to the polling place

• IS A REGISTERED ALABAMA VOTER LIVING OUTSIDE THE COUNTY, such as a member of the armed forces, a voter employed outside the United States, a college student, or a spouse or child of such a person

• IS AN APPOINTED ELECTION OFFICER OR POLL WATCHER at a polling place other than his or her regular polling place

• EXPECTS TO WORK A REQUIRED SHIFT, 10-HOURS OR MORE, that coincides with polling hours

• IS A CAREGIVER for a family member to the second degree of kinship by affinity or consanguinity and the family member is confined to his or her home

• IS CURRENTLY INCARCERATED in prison or jail and has not been convicted of a felony involving moral turpitude

To obtain an absentee ballot, write or visit the local Absentee Election Manager (usually the Circuit Clerk), request an absentee ballot, and provide the following:

• name and residential address (or other such information in order to verify voter registration)

• a copy of your valid photo identification

• election for which the ballot is requested

• reason for absence from polls on election day

• party choice, if the election is a party primary. (It is not necessary to give a party choice for a general election; however, in a party primary a voter may participate in only one political party’s primary; thus a choice must be designated so that the appropriate ballot can be provided. If the voter declines or fails to designate a choice for a primary or primary runoff ballot, the absentee election manager may send only the ballot for constitutional amendments.)

• address to which the ballot should be mailed

• voter signature. (Signature must be original, electronic signatures will not be accepted. If a mark is made in place of a signature, it must be witnessed.)

The absentee ballot application must be returned to the Absentee Election Manager by the voter in person (or by the voter’s designee in the case of medical emergency voting), by U.S. Mail, or by commercial carrier.  No absentee ballot application may be mailed in the same envelope as another voter’s absentee ballot application.

Upon receiving the absentee ballot application, the Absentee Election Manager may request additional evidence on the reason for voting absentee if the voter has a history of absentee voting. The absentee ballot applications must be turned in no later than the 5th calendar day before the election.

BALLOT RECEIPT/RETURN

If the absentee ballot application is approved, the Absentee Election Manager

• forwards the absentee ballot by U.S. Mail, or

• personally hands the absentee ballot to the voter (or to a designee in the case of medical emergency absentee voting)

Ballot Procedure

The absentee ballot comes with 3 envelopes — one plain (the secrecy envelope), one with an affidavit, or oath, printed on the outside, and one plain pre-addressed envelope, (the outer envelope). Once the voter casts the ballot, the procedure is as follows:

• Seal the ballot in the plain envelope

• Place the plain envelope inside the accompanying affidavit envelope

• Seal the affidavit envelope and complete the affidavit that is on the outside of the envelope

• Sign the affidavit and have the signature witnessed by either a notary public or two witnesses 18 years of age or older

WITNESSES OR NOTARIZATION

An absentee ballot cannot be counted unless the affidavit is notarized or has the signatures of two witnesses.

The voter has only the following legal ways to return the absentee ballot:

• forwards the absentee ballot by U.S. Mail

• forwards the absentee ballot by commercial carrier

• personally hands their own absentee ballot to the absentee election manager (or delivers by a designee in the case of emergency absentee voting)