Absentee Voting Can Be Confusing

Sometimes people forget to enclose a copy of their valid photo identification. Sometimes people send in their original identification. Absentee ballots have to be witnessed by two people over the age of 18 or notarized.

Remember that you can download and print ballots from the internet. You can call the Election Manager in the county in which you reside and they will mail you one. Typically the Election Manager is the Circuit Court Clerk.

You have to give your reason or anticipated reason for your absence from the county on election-day. The application form has a checklist of valid reasons such as being in the armed services, a college student or a voter employed outside the United States.

About 20 years ago Alabama had a problem with crossover voting when the two main political parties would vote in the other’s primary trying to force the other party to select the weakest candidate for their party to run against. It was all in the news.

Now crossover voting is prohibited. If you are going to vote in a primary, you have to state your party choice. You don’t have to give a party choice for a general election. But in the party primary a voter may only participate in only one political party’s primary, therefore a choice must be designated so that the appropriate ballot can be provided.

A voter is limited in the legal ways to return the absentee ballot. They can forward it by mail but it must be received no later than noon on election-day. If its hand delivered, it must be in the office of the Absentee Election Manager by the close of the business day (but no later than 5 p.m.) on the day prior to the election. The ballot must be hand delivered by the voter and not someone else except in limited emergencies that are documented. An absentee ballot can be returned by a commercial carrier such as Federal Express or UPS. I didn’t see a specific deadline for that type of service but I would have it there by the close of business the day before.

The absentee ballot comes with three envelopes. One plain (the secrecy envelope), one with an affidavit, or oath, printed on the outside, and one plain envelope, preaddressed (the outer envelope). Remember to put a copy of your valid, photo I.D. inside the outer envelope.

Buckle up, drive safely, wash your hands and as always your referrals are appreciated!

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