Special to the
Opelika Observer

With the U.S. Senate Special Primary Election day of Aug. 15 quickly approaching, Mary Roberson, Absentee Election Manager, reminds voters it is important to know the deadlines and legal requirements for absentee voting.
– Aug. 10 is the last day a voter may submit an application to vote absentee ballot for the Aug. 15 election.
– Aug. 14 is the last day that a voter can return his or her ballot in person. This is also the last day to vote a business emergency ballot. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked no later than Aug. 14 and received in the Absentee Office by noon on Election Day, Aug. 15. Because there are often delays in the postal system, please mail your ballot in plenty of time to ensure that it will be delivered by this deadline.
Specific laws regarding absentee voting that are especially important to note are as follows:
The Absentee Office is located at 205 S. 10th St. (formerly the Meeting Center). The office hours are Monday-Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm. The mailing address is Mary B. Roberson, Absentee Election Manager, P.O. Box 1616, Opelika, Alabama 36804. The phone number is (334) 737-3490.
Applications for absentee voting are available at the Absentee Office or can be printed from the Secretary of State’s web page www.alabamavotes.gov.
Completed absentee applications must provide the Alabama residential address (physical location) 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, prior to the registration deadline for this election, at (334) 737-3635 and update your address prior to applying for an absentee ballot or update on line at www.alabamavotes.gov.
Since this is a primary election the voter must indicate on the application whether he or she wants a Democrat or Republican ballot.
A completed application and the completed ballot must be returned by the voter in person or sent by U.S. Mail. No one, not even a family member, can return another person’s application or ballot. Multiple applications or ballots cannot be mailed in the same envelope.
Voter identification instructions will accompany each absentee ballot and must be carefully followed to ensure that the ballot meets the requirement of the law.
The Affidavit Envelope (the envelope that contains the returned ballot) must be fully completed and the voter’s signature (or mark) must be witnessed by two people 18 years of age or older or notarized prior to delivery of the ballot back to the Absentee Office. If the affidavit is not signed and properly witnessed/notarized prior to its return to the Absentee Office, the ballot will not be counted.
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 his or her attendance at the polls.
The person is unable to access his or her assigned polling place due to a neurological, musculoskeletal, respiratory (including speech organs) cardiovascular or other life-altering disorder that affects his or her ability to perform manual tasks, stand for any length of time, walk unassisted, see, hear, or speak and: (a) he or she is an elderly voter aged 65 or older OR (b) he or she is a voter with a disability.
The person works a shift which has at least 10 hours that coincide with the polling hours at his or her regular polling place.
The person is enrolled as a student at an educational institution located outside the county of his or her personal residence, attendance at which prevents his or her 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 his or her regular polling place.
Any registered elector who requires emergency treatment of a licensed physician within five days of an election (which would require that the emergency treatment occur after the application deadline of August 10th) may apply for an emergency absentee ballot for the election and may vote by returning the absentee ballot no later than noon on the day the election is held. 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.