Should Alabama have early voting?

Should Alabama have early voting?

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The last day to turn in your absentee ballot in-person is Monday, November 2, by close of business at 5 pm.

Rain or shine, people waited for hours to vote in-person absentee across the state for the 2020 presidential election.

The rush to vote absentee in Alabama was record-breaking, according to state elections officials, and the response caught the attention of elections officials who scrambled to get hundreds of thousands of record-breaking absentee ballots mailed out.

Jefferson County Place 1 Probate Judge James Naftel II said the pandemic played a factor in the response.

“This pandemic, we have these relaxed rules for why you can vote absentee. The inadvertent effect of that is it’s kind of turned this courthouse into a precinct, People are lining up like they do on November 3rd,” said Judge Naftel.

Pre-Covid, absentee voting was reserved for the medically ill, disabled, or service members.

Naftell said voting absentee is also much more time-consuming than traditional voting.

“You got to fill out the application, you got to go get the right ballot. When you go to your precinct there’s only one ballot maybe two that are there. Here [in Birmingham] there are several different ballots here. You have to go find the right one,” Naftell explained.

The absentee ballot must also be witnessed or notarized.

Despite the extra work, people still appeared to prefer showing up early and that’s why Naftel said state leaders should consider modifying voting options.

“I think that something that needs to be addressed by the legislature. An effort to say, 'ok, absentee needs to be absentee and we need to decide as a state if we want to have early voting and we need to make it easier for people to go do that,” Naftell said.

If you still plan to mail your absentee ballot in, it must arrive at the elections manager’s office by noon on election day.

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