Jefferson County election officials scrambling to make sure all absentee ballots are counted

Absentee ballot concerns

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Alabama election officials are scrambling to make sure every vote counts in next week’s election. That includes absentee ballots mailed in after conflicting federal court orders.

Around 1,000 people lined up to vote absentee Friday in Birmingham and there were around 500 Monday morning at the downtown courthouse.

Everyone wants the absentee votes to count, but voters may need to double check to make sure their vote will count. That’s after a number of absentee voters got a waiver in the mail saying they didn’t have to get a witness if they feared getting COVID-19. That was after a ruling from a federal judge on September 30.

Then on October 13, that decision was overturned.

Secretary of State John Merrill says ballots without a witness postmarked between September 30 and October 13 will be counted. Those post marked after the 13th would not be counted.

Jefferson County Circuit Clerk Jackie Smith says they are working to contact those folks that received the blue waiver, but Probate Judge Jim Naftel said if you’re worried this applies to you, you should contact election officials to make sure your vote will be counted.

"Make arrangements or just come down here to the courthouse. Let them know you are one of those people. We will try to find your ballot, your affidavit. Get that out and cure that,” Naftel said.

That means you will need two witnesses or a notary.

Smith said it’s her intention to count those ballots which don’t have witnesses by counting them as provisional ballots and it will be up to the Jefferson County Election Commission to decide if the ballots counts or not a week later.

Merrill has indicated they can’t be counted without witnesses.

If you believe that you fall in this category, or if you voted absentee by mail utilizing a blue waiver and your ballot was postmarked on or after October 14, you should call 205-325-5360.

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