Closing in: Deadline to register, apply for absentee voting is Oct. 24

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By Greg Markley
Political Reporter

Ann Bennett, a member of the Board of Registrars for Lee County, recalls times when her mother refused to vote absentee. “I still want to go to the polls and vote there, as I always have, my mother said,” according to Bennett. Bennett’s mom had mobility problems, but she believed strongly in voting in-person even if it was not easy.
But for many people, standing in what are expected to be long lines in Alabama due to the hotly contested presidential contest, is not feasible or preferable. They must note that the deadline is Tuesday, Oct. 24 to register for the General Election of Nov. 8. (That is the required 14 days prior to the election.)
The official web site of Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, www.alabamavotes.gov, can lead you to icons that say (on the far left) “Register to Vote,” and “Absentee Voting” (on the far right. Absentee voting applications will be mailed to you after you call (334) 737-3490 requesting one. Or you can pick one up at the Absentee Voting Office, 205 S. 10th St. in Opelika.
Robert Garris, elections manager for Lee County, noted that registration rolls are purged after two major cycles (presidential general elections). He said this was done for the years of 2012 and 2016. “People sometimes call wondering what happened to their registration, but I tell them the purging is a normal thing we do to prevent election fraud.”
At www.leeco.us, there is a red link for the Board of Registrars on the left side. “People are always calling us here, asking where do I go to register? It’s faster and easier for them to just use the Web site and get their registration in the system. Right now, we have so many calls that you won’t believe it,” added Bennett, a registrar.
When voters get to the ballot box, many of them only vote for the “high-profile” races such as president or governor, noted Garris. Others simply vote the straight-party ticket. In that way, their votes carry down to the down-ballot races, but not Amendments.
“If they have followed a longer ballot down and they see that there are amendments, they give up, sweating and some cry out: ‘I don’t want to vote for amendments,” Garris explained.
On Nov. 8, Lee County voters face 14 proposed amendments. Among these are Amendment 1, dealing with the AU Board of Trustees and Amendment 2, relating to Alabama State Parks funding. (In an upcoming edition, the Opelika Observer will spotlight the 14 proposed amendments to the 1901 State Constitution.)

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