Worried about voting during COVID-19? Apply for an absentee ballot today
Published on July 23, 2020
Citizens concerned about the COVID-19 outbreak may avoid the polls by casting an absentee ballot for the August 25 municipal election.
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said anyone who wishes to vote by absentee ballot due to COVID-19 should mark the box stating they have a physical illness or infirmity that prevents their attendance at the polls on their application.
“We’re grateful to our state leadership for extending the eligibility requirements for absentee voting due to COVID-19,” said Huntsville City Clerk Treasurer Ken Benion. “This ensures anyone who feels uncomfortable voting in-person during the upcoming municipal election can still make their voice heard at the polls.”
Absentee ballots must be postmarked by August 24 and received by noon August 25 to be counted. Voters can also hand-deliver their ballot to a county absentee election manager by close of business August 24.
Those who apply for an absentee ballot must also submit a copy of a valid photo ID, such as a driver’s license, with their application. Only one application per envelope will be accepted.
Benion said this year’s municipal election will include special precautions to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in our community.
“We’re having to consider things we’ve never had to consider before,” he said. “We are planning a number of Election Day protocols to keep our voters and poll workers safe.”
In addition to floor markings encouraging voters to stay 6 feet apart, all polling stations will have clearly marked points of entry and exit to avoid bottlenecks. Poll workers, who will wear face shields and face covers, will frequently disinfect voting booths and other high-touch surfaces.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizer and a limited supply of face covers will be on-hand at the polls. Although pens will be available and cleaned regularly, the City is encouraging voters to bring their own black, ballpoint pens to reduce transmission of the virus.
Starting in August, a one-stop-shop for absentee voters will be open on the first floor of City Hall on 308 Fountain Circle. Benion said voters will have the opportunity to drop their ballots off there to reduce time spent in the public building.
The City is also implementing several new procedures this year to assist Spanish-speaking residents. This includes sample ballots in Spanish, absentee ballots in Spanish, and access to an interpreter at the polls.