County circuit clerk provides details on absentee voting

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The U.S. Presidential Primary Election date is March 5, 2024, with the primary run-off election set for April 16, 2024.

Qualified voters can apply for an absentee ballot that can be cast by mail, commercial carrier or in person at the Absentee Election Manager’s Office if he or she makes application in writing not less than five days prior to the election and meets one of the following requirements:

A voter may cast an absentee ballot if he or she:

* Expects to be absent from the county on election day.

* Is ill or has a physical disability that prevents a voter’s personal appearance at their polling precinct.

* Is physically incapacitated and will not be able to vote in person because he or she cannot access their assigned polling place due to one of the following disabilities: 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.

* Is an elderly voter aged 65 or older or he or she is a voter with a disability.

* Is a registered Alabama voter living outside Etowah County, such as a member of the armed forces, a voter employed outside the United States, a college student, or a spouse or child of such a person.

* Is an appointed election officer or poll watcher at a polling place other than his or her regular polling place.

* Expects to work a required shift, 10-hours or more, that coincides with polling hours.

* Is a caregiver for a family member to the second degree of kinship by affinity or consanguinity and the family member is confined to his or her home.

* Is currently incarcerated in prison or jail and has not been convicted of a felony involving moral turpitude.

If an absentee ballot application is delivered by U.S. Mail or by commercial carrier to the Absentee Election Manager Office, the application must be received by the by the seventh day prior to the election. If the absentee ballot application is delivered in person by the voter only to the Absentee Election Manager, it must be received by the fifth day prior to the election.

Absentee applications are available at the Absentee Election Managers Office or online at www.sos.alabama.gov/alabama-votes.

Pursuant to Title 17-9-30, Code of Alabama, absentee ballot applications must now be accompanied by a copy of current, valid photo identification or voter ID, unless the voter is exempt from this identification requirement. Failing to provide the identification will result in said ballot becoming a provisional ballot.

Emergency absentee applications:

* A qualified voter requiring emergency medical treatment by a licensed physician within five days before an election. The application must be signed by the physician and returned to the Absentee Election Manager.

* A voter with a business emergency is required to apply and vote in-person at the Absentee Election Manager’s Office. The voter shall sign and swear to an affidavit acknowledging that he or she was not aware of the business emergency five days prior to the election.

* A caregiver for a person who requires emergency treatment by a licensed physician, the voter must deliver the application by hand to the Absentee Election Manager no later than five days prior to the election.

* A family member to the second degree of kinship by affinity or consanguinity died within five days prior to the election. The voter must deliver the application by hand to the Absentee Election Manager no later than the day prior to the election.

Applications for absentee voting are available at any of the following locations:

* Absentee Election Manager’s Office, Etowah County Circuit Clerk/Absentee Election Manager, Cassandra Johnson, 801 Forrest Avenue, Suite 202, Gadsden, AL 35901.

* Secretary of State web page at www.sos.alabama.gov/alabama-votes.

* United States Armed Forces members, including spouses, should contact their commanding officer for an application or may visit www.fvap.gov.

Note: In a primary election, voters must specify on the application if they are requesting a Democrat, Republican, Constitutional Amendment or other type of ballot.

Separate applications for absentee ballots are required for elections which are more than 42 days apart, except as to individuals voting pursuant to the Federal Uniformed and Overseas Absentee Voting Act, 42 U.S.C. 1973ff. These two elections only require one application, but one must select both primary and primary runoff elections.

Each application must be mailed separately. Multiple applications cannot be mailed in the same envelope, even if the voters live at the same address.

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. Those persons who have moved and have not yet updated their polling place should contact the local board of registrars and update said address prior to applying for an absentee ballot.

A completed application must be returned by the voter in-person or sent by mail or commercial carrier. No one, not even a family member, can return another person’s application.

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.

The absentee election manager shall forward absentee ballots by U.S. Mail to the applicant’s residence address or upon written request of the voter, to the address where the voter regularly receives mail or by handing the ballot to the voter in person, or, in the case of medical emergency voting, to his or her designee in-person.

Voters must complete all the information on the affidavit of the absentee voter envelope. If the voter’s affidavit is not signed or marked and if the affidavit is not witnessed by two witnesses age 18 years or older or by a notary public or other officer authorized to acknowledge oaths prior to being delivered or mailed to the absentee election manager, the ballot will not be counted.

Submitted by Cassandra Johnson, Etowah County Circuit Clerk

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