AL Sec. of State plans to appeal ruling that would loosen absentee ballot restrictions

Published: Jun. 16, 2020 at 10:14 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 16, 2020 at 10:16 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said, he plans to appeal a federal judge ruling that would loosen restrictions on absentee ballots.

Those rules only apply to the upcoming runoff election July 14.

Secretary Merrill said, any time you choose to move away from the law, you’re putting voters and the voting process in jeopardy.

The ruling says people in Jefferson, Mobile, and Lee Counties, who are at a high risk for COVID-19 and are over the age of 65, will not have to get two witness signatures, and they will not have to show a photo ID.

The judge also lifted a statewide prohibition on curbside voting at in-person polling locations.

"We intend to appeal the ruling by the judge to the circuit court for additional review. We hope that they will see the law the way we see the law," said Secretary Merrill. "We will follow the guidance that has been provided to us by the office of the Attorney General, that represents our office in this case. And we will act accordingly to whatever ruling is issued."

The federal judge said the potential health risks to older or medically vulnerable voters that come along with going to the polls, or getting witnesses, were reasons for the change.

The last day for an absentee ballot application is July 9.

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