Election officials expect record turnout, long day of counting ballots

Counting the ballots on Election Day

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Election officials are gearing up for a long day Tuesday. A record number of voters are expected to go to the polls.

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill expects to see between 2.5 and 2.8 million voters at the polls Tuesday.

As of Monday afternoon, Merrill says there has been 331,000 absentee ballots requested and more than 300,000 have been returned to circuit clerk’s offices.

Voters have until 5 p.m. Monday to get that ballot physically returned or by noon Tuesday to get it in the mail.

While absentee ballots can be returned by mail until noon Tuesday, Alabama circuit clerk officials will start running the absentee ballots into machines at 7 a.m. Tuesday morning.

“We were able to secure additional poll workers for that process. That is why we are comfortable in the administration of the election in the participation of absentee ballots,” Merrill said.

Counting absentee ballots typically started at noon, but it was changed this year due to increased demand.

If your absentee ballot is not returned in time, your only option then is to cast what is called a provisional ballot at your voting precinct on Tuesday.

“If they vote a provisional ballot tomorrow, once the review is taken care of on Friday, it will be determined if the provisional ballot will count or if the provisional ballot was a superfluous ballot,” Merrill said.

Merrill says all legal ballots will be counted. It may be a long day Tuesday, but Merrill is not expecting any trouble.

At the same time, when asked if he expects any possible lawsuits from the election, he says yes - but pointed out of the 21 times he’s been sued as Alabama Secretary of State, he is 21-0.

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