Special to the
The anticipated voter turnout for this upcoming presidential election is projected to be significant. Voters who need to cast their vote by absentee ballot can do so either in person at the absentee office or by mail.
However, due to ongoing construction and weekly trial dockets at the T.K. Davis Justice Center, and the anticipated high turnout, the Absentee Office has been relocated for the 2016 general election to The Lee County Meeting Center (formerly the Johnson Galleries building,) located behind the Lee County Courthouse at 205 S. 10th Street in Opelika.
The mailing address and phone number for the Absentee Office will remain the same (P.O. Box 1616, Opelika, Alabama 36803 and 334-737-3490.) This is a temporary relocation just for the 2016 general election and the absentee office will move back to the Justice Center after the Nov. 8 election.
Any qualified elector may vote an absentee ballot by mail or in person at the absentee election manager’s office, if he or she makes an application in writing not less than five days prior to the election and meets one of the following requirements:
*The person will be out of the county or the state on election day.
*The person has any physical illness or infirmity which prevents their attendance at the polls.
*The person has a physical illness or infirmity which prevents their attendance at the polls and is unable to access their assigned polling place due to a neurological, musculoskeletal, respiratory (including speech organs) cardiovascular or other life-altering disorder that affects their ability to perform manual tasks, stand for any length of time, walk unassisted, see, hear, or speak and: (a) they are an elderly voter aged 65 or older or (b) they are a voter with a disability.
*The person works a shift of at least ten (10) hours that coincide with the polling hours at their regular polling place.
*The person is enrolled as a student at an educational institution located outside the county of their personal residence, attendance at which prevents their attendance at the polls.
*The person is a member of, or spouse or dependent of a member of, the Armed Forces of the United States or is otherwise similarly qualified to vote absentee pursuant to the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, 42 U.S.C. 1973ff.
*The person has been appointed as an election officer at a polling place which is not their regular polling place.
To avoid having to wait in long lines at the absentee office, eligible absentee voters are encouraged to submit their application and ballot through the U.S. Postal Service. Also, because first class postal service’s delivery standards for first-class mail are typically between two to fuve days, voters are strongly encouraged to return their application and/or ballot as quickly as possible to avoid nearing the deadline. If a ballot is received after the deadline it cannot be counted, even if it was postmarked prior to the election date.
These deadlines are:
*Nov. 3 – this is the last dayto apply for absentee ballots.
*Nov. 7 – this is the last day voters can return absentee ballots in person.
*Nov. 8 – All mailed absentee ballots must be received by noon on this day.
Any registered elector who requires emergency treatment from a licensed physician within five days of an election may apply for an emergency absentee ballot for the election and may vote by returning the absentee ballot no later than noon on election day. The attendant physician shall describe and certify the circumstance as constituting an emergency.
The person may vote by an emergency absentee ballot if he or she is required by his or her employer under unforeseen circumstances to be out of the county on an emergency business trip on election day. Under such circumstances, the applicant shall apply for an emergency absentee ballot at the office of the absentee election manager no later than the close of the business day one day prior to the election. The applicant shall complete and file an application form designed by the Secretary of State for emergency absentee voters. The form shall contain an affidavit which the applicant shall sign or swear acknowledging that he or she was not aware of the out-of-county business requirement prior to five days before the election. An applicant who meets the requirements of this subsection may vote by an emergency absentee ballot. After voting the ballot, the voter shall hand the ballot to the absentee election manager.
Applications for absentee voting are now available and can be mailed or emailed by request by calling 334-737-3490, or can be picked up at the absentee office. Applications are also available online for download at the Secretary of State’s web page www.alabamavotes.gov.
Completed absentee applications must provide the Alabama residence where the voter is registered to vote, even if the ballot is to be mailed to another address where the applicant/voter regularly receives mail. If you have moved and have not updated your polling place you should contact the Board of Registrars (334) 737-3635 and update your address prior to applying for an absentee ballot or update online at www.alabamavotes.gov.
A completed application must be returned by the voter in person or sent by U.S. Mail. No one can return another person’s application. Multiple applications cannot be mailed in the same envelope.
The absentee election manager may not give any person access to completed and filed applications for absentee ballots. This information is not a matter of public record. It should be considered privileged information just the same as voter registration applications.
Voter identification instructions will accompany each absentee ballot and must be carefully followed to ensure that the ballot meets the requirement of the law.
Voters must complete all the information on the affidvait of the absentee voter envelope. If the voter’s affidavit is not signed or marked, and the affidavit is not witnessed by two witnesses 18 years or older or notarized prior to delivery, the ballot will not be counted. Only the voter may hand deliver a ballot.