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Election Administration in Alabama

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Election Types and Dates

Election Dates

Upcoming Primary Elections

The primary election is March 1, 2016. The primary runoff election is April 12, 2016.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Alabama Sec. of State, 2016 Election Information [link]

Upcoming General Elections

The general election is November 8, 2016.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Alabama Sec. of State, 2016 Election Information [link]

How is a nominee determined?

How is a nominee determined (caucus, primary, convention)?

Primary elections, unless the party's state executive committee chooses to instead hold a caucus, convention, mass meeting, or other assembly and notifies the Secretary of State at least 60 days before the date of the primary election.

If there are three or more candidates in a primary race, and no one candidate receives a majority of the votes cast, then a second primary election (called a ""primary runoff election"") is held, and the two candidates who receive the highest number of votes in the first primary appear on the ballot. The winner of this runoff election will be the party nominee.

For a presidential preference primary, each political party authorized to hold a primary and wishing to hold such a presidential preference primary shall, not less than 60 days before such primary is to be held, adopt and file with the Secretary of State a resolution stating that intention, along with additional procedural information.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-13-52 [link]

Ala. Code § 17-13-105 [link]

Ala. Code § 17-13-18 [link]

Ala. Code § 17-13-42 [link]

Political Party Affiliation

Can voters register by party in the state?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Alabama Voter Registration Application [link]

Must voters be registered with a political party if they would like to vote on that party’s candidates in a partisan primary election (i.e., are primaries open or closed)?

Alabama primary elections are open. At the polling place on the day of a primary election, the voter must state which party's primary ballot they wish to vote.

However, different rules apply to primary runoff elections. If a person voted a Republican ballot in a primary election, and a primary runoff election is then held, that person cannot vote a Democratic primary runoff ballot. If a person voted in a Democratic primary election, and a primary runoff election is then held, that person can vote either a Democratic primary runoff ballot or a Republican primary runoff ballot.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Sec. of State, Voter FAQ [link]

Ala. Code § 17-13-101 [link]

Ala. Code § 17-13-7 [link]

Voter Registration

Who Can Vote?

Can someone pre-register to vote if they will not be 18 years old by the next election? If so, who?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Const. amend. 579 [link]

Can 17-year-olds who will be 18-year-olds by the general election vote in the primary?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Const. amend. 579 [link]

Does the state take away the right to vote from persons convicted of certain crimes? If so, what crimes?

Those convicted of a felony ""involving moral turpitude"" lose the right to vote while in prison, on parole, and on probation. If a person has been convicted of a felony that does not involve ""moral turpitude,"" they remain eligible to vote.

The Alabama Attorney General considers the following to be felonies involving moral turpitude, but this is not a complete list: murder, rape, burglary, robbery, income tax evasion, forgery, conspiracy to commit fraud, aggravated assault, possession of marijuana for resale, sale of marijuana, manslaughter, theft, transporting stolen vehicles across state lines, unauthorized sale of a controlled substance, bigamy, impeachment, murder, rape in any degree, sodomy in any degree, sexual abuse in any degree, incest, sexual torture, enticing a child to enter a vehicle for immoral purposes, soliciting a child by computer, production of obscene matter involving a minor, production of obscene matter, parents or guardians permitting children to engage in obscene matter, possession of obscene matter, possession with intent to distribute child pornography, and treason.

The Alabama Attorney General does not consider the following felonies to involve moral turpitude, but this is not a complete list: doing business without a license, violation of liquor laws, aiding prisoner to escape (now listed in the Alabama Code as permitting or facilitating escape), mere possession of marijuana, and driving under the influence.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Atty. Gen. Op. 2005-092 [link]

Ala. Const. amend. 579 [link]

Ala. Code § 17-3-30 [link]

If people lose the right to vote because of a criminal conviction, can they regain the right to vote? How?

People with felony convictions involving moral turpitude can apply to have their voting rights restored once they complete their sentence, include any period of imprisonment, parole, or probation, and have paid all fines, fees, court costs, and restitution. A person may regain their right to vote by either (1) receiving a pardon from the State Board of Pardons and Paroles that specifically restores their right to vote, or (2) receiving a Certificate of Eligibility to Register to Vote from the Board of Pardons and Paroles.

However, if a person is convicted of one of the following crimes, they cannot apply to receive a Certificate of Eligibility to Register to Vote; to regain the right to vote, they must apply and receive a pardon specifically restoring their right to vote: murder, rape in any degree, sodomy in any degree, sexual abuse in any degree, incest, sexual torture, enticing a child to enter a vehicle for immoral purposes, soliciting a child by computer, production of obscene matter involving a minor, production of obscene matter, parents or guardians permitting children to engage in obscene matter, possession of obscene matter, possession with intent to distribute child pornography.

Additionally, a person convicted of impeachment or treason permanently loses the right to vote and cannot apply to regain it through either method.

After regaining the right to vote, a person must re-register to vote.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-3-31 [link]

Voter Registration Options

Is fully online voter registration available? (i.e., can voters fill in and submit an online application without printing and signing it?)

Yes, for people who have an Alabama driver's license or state non-driver's identification card.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Alabama Electronic Voter Registration Application [link]

Does the state accept the National Mail Registration Form?

Yes. Click here to download the form.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

National Mail Voter Registration Form [link]

Is the state required to register voters at public assistance agencies and driver's license agencies, per the National Voter Registration Act of 1993?

Yes.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

U.S. Department of Justice website [link]

Student-Specific Rules

Does the state have specific rules on students registering to vote or voting?

Students may register at their address where they live while attending school if they do not intend to return to their previous address, or they may register to vote at their previous address.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Cod § 17-3-32 [link]

Voter Registration Deadlines

When is the voter registration deadline?

The 15th day before Election Day.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-3-50 [link]

How is the deadline enforced for mailed applications?

Postmark - A mailed application must be postmarked by the voter registration deadline.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Admin. Code § 820-2-2-.12(2) [link]

When must a voter make changes to their registration for the changes to be in effect before the person seeks to vote?

A voter may update their voter registration record at any time, including on Election Day itself at their polling place. However, voters who move to a new county in Alabama must register to vote in their new county before the voter registration deadline.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

2016 Alabama Voter Guide, p. 2 [link]

Same-Day Registration

Can voters register and vote on the same day (i.e., does the state offer same-day registration)?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-11)

Ala. Code § 17-3-50 [link]

Voters Who Have Moved or Changed Their Name

Can people vote if they moved, but did not update their voter registration with their new address?

Yes, a voter may update their voter registration record with their new name at any time, including on Election Day itself at their polling place.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

2016 Alabama Voter Guide, p. 2 [link]

Can people vote if they have changed their name, but did not update their voter registration with their new name?

Yes, so long as the voter moved to a new address that is within the same county of their old address, the voter may update their voter registration record when they vote at the polls on Election Day. If the voter moved to a new precinct in the same county, the voter should vote at the polling place assigned to their new precinct.

However, if a voter moves to a new county, the voter must submit a new voter registration application before the voter registration deadline, or they will not be able to vote.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

2016 Alabama Voter Guide, p. 2 [link]

Ala. Sec. of State, Voter FAQ [link]

Ala. Code § 17-3-56 [link]

Language, Literacy, and Disability Access

Language and Literacy Access

Does the state have any places that must provide election materials in languages other than English, per Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Voting Rights Act Amendments of 2006, Determinations Under Section 203, 76 Fed. Reg. 63602 (Oct. 13, 2011) [link]

Does the state have any other rules about providing election materials in languages other than English?

In counties that have a language minority group that comprises at least 5% of the voting age population according to the previous census, election officials must post print and display voting instructions, including sample ballots, in polling places both in English and in the language of the language minority group.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-6-46 [link]

Who can help a voter with reading assistance or translation if they can't vote on their own?

Under Section 208 of the federal Voting Rights Act, any voter who requires assistance to vote due to inability to read or write may be given assistance by a person of the voter's choice, other than the voter's employer, an agent of that employer, or an officer or agent of the voter's union.

Under state law, any voter may be assisted in voting by any person who is not the voter's employer, an agent of that employer, or an officer or agent of the voter's union. The voter does not need to state a reason as to why they need assistance. The person offering assistance must sign the poll list in the appropriate place.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

52 U.S.C. § 10508 (federal law) [link]

Disability Access

Who can help a voter with a disability if they can't vote on their own?

Under Section 208 of the federal Voting Rights Act, any voter who requires assistance to due to blindness or disability may be given assistance by a person of the voter's choice, other than the voter's employer, an agent of that employer, or an officer or agent of the voter's union.

Under state law, any voter may be assisted in voting by any person who is not the voter's employer, an agent of that employer, or an officer or agent of the voter's union. The voter does not need to state a reason as to why they need assistance. The person offering assistance must sign the poll list in the appropriate place.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

52 U.S.C. § 10508 (federal law) [link]

Does the state have other rules related to access for persons with disabilities?

If a voter cannot sign the poll list due to a disability, an election official will write the voter's name on the poll list and sign their own signature. If a voter cannot sign the poll list due to illiteracy, an election official will write the voter's name on the poll list and the voter must make their mark next to it.

Persons who are adjudicated mentally incompetent by a court lose the right to vote.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-9-11 [link]

Early Voting, Absentee Voting, and Other Ways to Vote

Vote-by-Mail

Does the state provide mail ballots to all voters without a request?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-11-3(a) [link]

Early Voting/Absentee In-Person Voting

Does the state have early voting/absentee in-person voting?

Yes, Alabama has in-person absentee voting. However, only the following voters may cast an absentee ballot, whether in person or by mail:

  • A voter who will be out of the county or the state, or out of the municipality for municipal elections, on Election Day.
  • A voter who has any physical illness or infirmity that prevents them from voting at the polls on Election Day
  • A voter who works on a shift that has at least 10 hours that coincide with the hours the polls are open on Election Day
  • A voter who is enrolled as a student at an educational institution located outside the county where they live
  • A voter who has been appointed as an election officer or named as a poll watcher at a polling place other than their regular polling place.
  • Military and overseas voters
Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-11-3(a) [link]

Ala. Code § 17-11-18(a) [link]

Ala. Code § 17-11-5(a) [link]

Where does early voting/absentee in-person voting take place?

At the office of the county's absentee election manager. The absentee election manager is either the circuit clerk or another appointed official.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-11-5(a) [link]

When does early voting/absentee in-person voting take place?

In-person absentee voting begins whenever absentee ballots become available in the county:

  • For all elections except primary runoff election and municipal elections, absentee ballots must be available starting no later than 55 days before Election Day.
  • For primary runoff elections, absentee ballots must be available starting no later than 7 days after the first primary election.
  • For most municipal elections, absentee ballots must be available starting no later than 7 days after the last day to qualify as a candidate.
  • For municipal runoff elections, absentee ballots must be available starting no later than 14 days after the first municipal election.
  • For municipal elections held for a purpose other than the election of municipal officers, absentee ballots must be available starting no later than 7 days after the giving of notice of the election.

For all elections, in-person absentee voting ends 5 days before Election Day, except that a voter who has received an absentee ballot by the 5th day before Election Day may take their ballot home with them and return it no later than the close of business on the last business day before Election Day.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-11-3(a) [link]

Ala. Code § 17-11-18 [link]

Ala. Code § 17-11-12 [link]

What official chooses early voting/absentee in-person voting locations?

Early voting takes place only in the office of the absentee ballot manager.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-11-5(a) [link]

Are lists of early voters/absentee in-person voters published? How?

Yes. The daily list of all voters who applied for an absentee ballot, including voters who applied for an absentee ballot in person, must be posted in the county courthouse, except in municipal elections it must be posted in city hall. This list is updated daily, and includes the names, addresses, voting places, and application dates of each person who applied for an absentee ballot.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-11-5(a) [link]

Absentee Voting by Mail

Can anyone vote absentee by mail without an excuse? If not, what excuses allow a voter to vote absentee by mail?

Only the following voters may cast an absentee ballot, whether in person or by mail:

  • A voter who will be out of the county or the state, or out of the municipality for municipal elections, on Election Day.
  • A voter who has any physical illness or infirmity that prevents them from voting at the polls on Election Day
  • A voter who works on a shift that has at least 10 hours that coincide with the hours the polls are open on Election Day
  • A voter who is enrolled as a student at an educational institution located outside the county where they live
  • A voter who has been appointed as an election officer or named as a poll watcher at a polling place other than their regular polling place.
  • Military and overseas voters
Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-11-3(a) [link]

Deadline to apply for absentee ballot by mail

An absentee ballot application must be received 5 days before Election Day.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-11-3(a) [link]

How does a voter apply for an absentee mail ballot?

Voters may apply for an absentee ballot using the official absentee ballot application, which can be downloaded here and is available in absentee election managers' offices, or by making a handwritten request for an absentee ballot that contains the following information from the voter:

  • Name and address (or other such information in order to verify voter registration);
  • Election for which the ballot is requested;
  • Reason for absence from polls on Election Day;
  • Party choice, if the election is a party primary;
  • Address to which the ballot should be mailed; and
  • The voter's signature.

The voter can submit their application by mail or by personally delivering it to the absentee election manager's office.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-11-4 [link]

Can a voter make an online request for an absentee mail ballot?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-11-4 [link]

Does a voter need to submit any supporting documentation or verification with an absentee mail ballot or absentee mail ballot application? If so, what is required?

No documentation is required to be submitted with an absentee ballot application. However, upon receiving an application, the absentee election manager may require the voter provide additional evidence that they qualify to vote using an absentee ballot, particularly if the voter has been continuously voting by absentee ballot in previous elections.

When submitting an absentee ballot, the envelope must be signed by either a notary public or two witnesses at least 18 years of age. Additionally, the voter must enclose a copy of the required voter ID. For more information on Alabama's ID requirements, see the ""Voter ID and Challenges"" section below.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-11-5(a) [link]

Are there restrictions on who may request or turn in an absentee mail ballot application for a voter?

Most voters applying for an absentee ballot must submit their application personally or by mail. Only voters who are requesting an emergency absentee ballot after the absentee ballot deadline may designate another person to turn in their absentee ballot application for them.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-11-4 [link]

Deadline to return absentee ballots

If the absentee ballot is mailed, it must be postmarked no later than the day before Election Day and received no later than 12:00 p.m. on Election Day. If the absentee ballot is delivered in person, it must be received no later than the time the absentee election manager's office closes on the last business day before Election Day.

Emergency absentee ballots delivered by a voter's designee must be received by 12:00 p.m. on Election Day.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-11-18 [link]

Are there restrictions on who may return a voter's absentee mail ballot for them?

A voter cannot designate another person to pick up or return an absentee ballot for them unless the voter is voting an emergency abentee ballot for medical reasons.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-11-5 [link]

Are there any special emergency rules that allow a voter to vote absentee by mail if they are unable to make it to the polls at the last minute?

Yes. Voters who must receive emergency medical treatment within 5 days of Election Day, or whose employer requires them to make an emergency business trip out of the county on Election Day, may apply for an emergency absentee ballot after the absentee ballot deadline. Voters must apply use the Emergency Absentee Ballot Application, which can be downloaded here and is available in absentee election manager offices.

For voters who have a medical emergency, they must have their physician describe the voter's medical circumstances on the application and sign it. Such voters may either deliver the application by mail, in person at the absentee election manager's office, or they can designate another person to deliver it to the office. A designated person may also deliver the voter's absentee ballot to them and return it to the absentee election manager's office. The completed absentee ballot must be received no later than 12:00 p.m. on Election Day.

For voters who must make an emergency business trip out of the county, they must submit their application no later than the close of business on the last business day before Election Day. The voter must submit the application in person at the election manager's office and submit the ballot by the close of business on the last business day before Election Day.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-11-5 [link]

Ala. Code § 17-11-3(c)-(d) [link]

Ala. Code § 17-11-18 [link]

Are lists of people who vote absentee by mail published? How?

Yes. The daily list of all voters who applied for an absentee ballot must be posted in the county courthouse, except in municipal elections it must be posted in city hall. This list is updated daily, and includes the names, addresses, voting places, and application dates of each person who applied for an absentee ballot.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-11-5(a) [link]

Presidential-only ballots

Under federal law, any registered voter who moves out of the state after the 30th day before a Presidential election may vote for President and Vice President either in person at the voter’s previous state of residence or using an absentee ballot from the voter’s previous state of residence.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

52 U.S.C. § 10502(e) [link]

Absentee Voting for Military and Overseas Voters

Who is eligible for military/overseas absentee voting?

The following voters are eligible to vote a military/overseas ballot:

  • A member of the uniformed services while in the active service, Merchant Marine, commissioned corps of the Public Health Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or an eligible spouse or dependent of such a member, who is a permanent resident of Alabama and is temporarily living outside of the territorial limits of the United States and D.C., who is qualified and registered to vote in Alabama
  • Any other citizen of the United States who is a permanent resident of Alabama and is temporarily living outside of the territorial limits of the United States and D.C., who is qualified and registered to vote in Alabama
Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-11-40 [link]

How do voters apply for a military/overseas ballot?

Military and overseas voters may use regular domestic absentee voting procedures (see the above section on Absentee Voting by Mail for further details) or apply using a Federal Postcard Application (FPCA). Additionally, Voters can fill out and print a standard application for a military/overseas ballot online here. The voter can designate on the application whether they would prefer to receive their ballot by mail, fax, e-mail, or electronically.

The application may be faxed or e-mailed to start the process, but the voter must also mail or personally deliver the original application.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-11-43 [link]

Ala. Code § 17-11-5(d) [link]

Ala. Admin. Code § 820-2-3-.04 [link]

Ala. Sec. of State, Overseas and Military Absentee Ballot Request website [link]

Deadline to apply for a military/overseas ballot

The absentee ballot application must be received 5 days before Election Day.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-11-3(a) [link]

Deadline to return the military/overseas ballot

The ballot must be postmarked no later than Election Day and received no later than 12:00 p.m. on the 7th day after Election Day.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-11-18(b) [link]

Who is eligible to use a write-in absentee ballot? How does it work?

Any overseas or military voter can use a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) to vote for federal, state, and county offices..

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-11-43.1 [link]

On Election Day

Where do you vote in person?

Where do you vote in person?

Voters cast their ballots at the polling place in the precinct where they live. However, counties can choose to combine voters from multiple precincts and have them vote at a single voter center.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-6-4(c) [link]

What hours are the polls open on Election Day?

What hours are the polls open on Election Day?

7 a.m. - 7 p.m. local time, except that the county commissions in Chambers County and Lee County may require that any polling place in their counties be open according to central time.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-9-6 [link]

In the Voting Booth

Can a voter bring children into the voting booth with them?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-9-50 [link]

Are employers required to give employees time off to vote?

Are employers required to give employees time off to vote?

Yes; if the employee starts work less than two hours after the polls open and finishes less than one hour before the polls close, an employee has a right to take one hour off of work to vote. The voter must provide their employer with reasonable notice, and the employer may specify the time that the employee may take off to vote.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-1-5 [link]

Campaigning, Electioneering, and Recording Devices

Are there restrictions on campaigning/electioneering during early voting/absentee in-person voting?

No law specifically restricts campaigning during absentee in-person voting.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-9-50 [link]

Are there restrictions on campaigning/electioneering on Election Day?

Campaigning may not be done within 30 feet of the entrance of a building in which the polling place is located.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-9-50 [link]

Can a voter wear a button or t-shirt with a candidate's name or logo on it into the polling place when they vote?

Yes. A voter may wear campaign buttons or t-shirts with political advertisements into the polling place.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

230 Op. Atty Gen. Ala. 34 (93-00118) [link]

*NEW 1** Can a voter use a digital or recording device (such as a cell phone or camera) inside the polling place or voting booth?

No specific prohibition on phones. However, use of the phone in the polling place should not disturb other voters or disrupt the polling place. If your cell phone has a camera, you cannot take photographs or film video inside the polling place.

Source (confirmed on: 10/7/2016)

Alabama 2016 Voter Guide, p. 15. [link]

*NEW 2** Can a voter use a digital or recording device (such as a cell phone or camera) outside the polling place but within the zone around the polling place where campaigning/electioneering is banned?

State law does not address this issue. Local practices may vary.

Source (confirmed on: 10/7/2016)

Opinion of the Office of the Attorney General of the State of Alabama [link]

Ala. Code § 17-17-33 [link]

Who's at the Polls?

Can persons other than election workers observe inside the polls?

Yes.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-8-7 [link]

What are observers inside the polls called in the state?

Poll watchers.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-8-7 [link]

Does the state establish requirements to observe inside the polls?

Except in municipal elections, each political party who has a candidate on the ballot may appoint one poll watcher per polling place. Additionally, candidates in primary elections may appoint one poll watcher per polling place where they are running. In elections where no candidate is running, each political party may appoint one poll watcher per polling place. Appointments must be made in writing to the inspector. Election officials cannot serve as poll watchers.

In municipal elections, each candidate may appoint one poll watcher per polling place where they are running. The appointment must be in writing, and the watcher must present the writing to poll workers.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 11-46-35 [link]

Ala. Code § 13-13-11 [link]

Ala. Code § 17-8-7 [link]

*NEW 3* Can a poll observer use a digital or recording device (such as a cell phone or camera) in the polling place?

State law does not address this issue. Local practices may vary.

Source (confirmed on: 9/9/2016)

Ala. Code § 17-8-7 [link]

Are there other rules on what poll observers can or cannot do?

Watchers may:

  • Observe the conduct of the election.
  • Monitor the preliminaries of opening the polls.
  • Remain at the polling place throughout the election until the results of the election have been posted and the voting machines sealed.
  • Observe the ballots as they are counted.
  • Observe absentee ballots and affidavits when they are called during the count.
  • See all oaths administered and signed, the record of assisted voters, the list of qualified voters, the poll lists, and any and all records made in connection with the election.

Watchers may not:

  • Disturb voters
  • Attempt to influence voters or campaign
  • Display any campaign materials or wear any campaign buttons or clothes while in the polling place
Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-8-7 [link]

Provisional Voting and Voters at the Wrong Polling Place

When should a voter be offered a provisional ballot?

Under Section 203 of the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002, if a person claims to be a registered voter in the jurisdiction in which the person desires to vote and the person claims to be eligible to vote in a federal election, but the person’s name does not appear on the official list of eligible voters for the polling place or an election official asserts that the person is not eligible to vote, then that person must be permitted to cast a provisional ballot at that polling place. The person may cast the provisional ballot after executing, before an election official at the polling place, a written affirmation stating that the person is (1) a registered voter in the jurisdiction, and (2) eligible to vote in that election.

Additionally, any person who votes in a federal election as a result of a federal or state court order, or any other order extending the time established for closing the polls by a state law in effect 10 days before the date of that election, may only vote in that election by casting a provisional ballot. Any such ballot cast must be separated and held apart from other provisional ballots cast for different reasons.

Under state law, A voter may be given a provisional ballot because:

  • The voter's name does not appear on the list of registered voters for the precinct or polling place, and their voter registration cannot otherwise be verified by election officials at the polling place;
  • The voter does not provide the required ID at the polling place;
  • The voter applied an absentee ballot that the voter did not receive or did not cast;
  • The voter's right to vote has been challenged by an inspector who believes the voter is not entitled to vote at that precinct;
  • A federal or state court order extends the time for closing the polls beyond that established by state law and the voter votes during the extended period of time.
Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

52 U.S.C. § 21082 (federal law) [link]

If a voter casts a provisional ballot at the wrong precinct, will the ballot be counted?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-10-3 [link]

Following up on a provisional ballot

Voters who cast a provisional ballot because they did not provide the required ID when voting, including voters who did not provide a copy of ID when voting an absentee ballot by mail, must present their ID to the board of registrars no later than 5:00 p.m. on the Friday after Election Day, or their ballot will not count.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-10-2 [link]

Finding out if a provisional ballot was counted

Election officials must notify a provisional voter how they can find out whether their ballot is counted and, if it is not counted, the reason why.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-10-2 [link]

Ballot Shortages/Voting Machine Malfunctions

What is the law or procedure on emergency ballots if a polling place runs out of printed ballots? Are handwritten/photocopied ballots allowed?

Except for municipal elections in some small municipalities, paper ballots are not used in Alabama. State law does not address procedures if a polling place runs out of printed ballots.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Alabama Election Handbook, p. 125 [link]

What is the law or procedure on emergency ballots if a voting machine breaks or malfunctions?

If a voting machine malfunctions, voters shall deposit paper ballots into a ballot box or other suitable container.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-12-4 [link]

Voter ID and Challenges

Voter ID

Who must show ID to vote?

All voters, including voters who cast a ballot at the polls on Election Day and voters who cast an absentee ballot in person or by mail, except for military voters, overseas voters, those allowed by the Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act to vote absentee, and any other voter who is allowed to vote absentee under federal law.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-10-1 [link]

Ala. Code § 17-9-30 [link]

Are there any special requirements for first-time voters?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-10-1 [link]

What ID is acceptable?

The voter must present one of the following valid forms of photo ID:

  • An Alabama driver's license or nondriver identification card
  • A photo ID, including but not limited to a valid employee photo ID, issued by the state of Alabama, a local government in Alabama, a state or local government of a different state, or the federal government
  • A U.S. passport
  • A student or employee ID issued by any public or private college, university, or postgraduate or professional school in Alabama
  • A photo military ID card
  • A photo tribal identification card
Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-9-30 [link]

Is a student ID an acceptable form of identification?

Yes, so long as it has a photo of the student and was issued by a public or private college, university, or postgraduate or professional school in Alabama.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-9-30 [link]

Does the address on the ID have to match the address at which the voter is registered?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-9-30 [link]

If a voter has no ID, are there alternatives such as an oath or witness?

If a voter does not provide one of the required forms of ID, a voter can vote a provisional ballot. Such voters must present a required form of ID to the board of registrars no later than 5:00 p.m. on the Friday after Election Day for their provisional ballot to count.

Alternatively, a voter without ID can cast a regular ballot if they are identified by two election officials as a voter on the poll list who is eligible to vote and both of the election officials sign a sworn affidavit.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-9-30(e) [link]

Ala. Code § 17-10-2 [link]

Do elections without federal offices on the ballot (such as off-year gubernatorial elections) have different ID requirements?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-9-30 [link]

Challenges to Voters at the Polling Place

Who can challenge a voter at the polling place?

Only the polling place's inspector may challenge a voter at the polling place.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-10-2(a)(2) [link]

What are the allowed reasons on which a voter can be challenged at the polling place?

The inspector may challenge a voter if the inspector has knowledge that the voter is not eligible to vote for any reason.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-10-2(a)(2) [link]

Is there a requirement for the challenger to provide cause or evidence?

The inspector must also sign a statement under penalty of perjury setting forth facts which the inspector believes to support their belief that the challenged voter is not eligible to vote. A copy of this statement must be given to the voter.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-10-2(b)(4) [link]

How does a voter defend their eligibility to vote if they are challenged?

When verifying a provisional ballot based upon the challenge of an inspector, the board of registrars must promptly contact the voter by first class mail and provide an explanation of how the provisional voter may respond to the challenge. The board of registrars must allow the challenged voter an opportunity to present evidence affirming their eligibility before the board decides whether to count the provisional ballot or not.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-10-2(e) [link]

State and Local Election Officials

The State Election Authority

Who/what is the state election authority?

Secretary of State

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-1-3(a) [link]

Current official

John Merrill

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Sec. of State Biography [link]

E-mail

Contact Ed Packard, Chief of the Elections Division, at Ed.Packard@sos.alabama.gov

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Sec. of State, Contact Us [link]

Phone

Elections Division Phone Numbers:

Main: 334-242-7210

Toll Free: 1-800-274-8683

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Sec. of State, Elections Division Contact Us [link]

Address

Mailing Address:

PO Box 5616

Montgomery, AL 36103-5616

Physical Address:

600 Dexter Ave, Suite E-208

Montgomery, AL 36130

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Sec. of State, Elections Division Contact Us [link]

Local Election Authorities

What local election official(s) are in charge of major state-level elections (such as the even-year November general elections)?

The county's Judge of Probate, except that the county's Absentee Election Manager administers absentee voting, and the county's Board of Registrars administers voter registration.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-3-2 [link]

Ala. Code § 17-11-2 [link]

Ala. Code § 17-1-3(b) [link]

What is the county-level election official?

The county's Judge of Probate, except that the county's Absentee Election Manager administers absentee voting, and the county's Board of Registrars administers voter registration.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-3-2 [link]

Ala. Code § 17-11-2 [link]

Ala. Code § 17-1-3(b) [link]

What is the municipal-level election official?

Varies by municipality.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Contact information for local election authorities

Click here.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Boards of Registrars: All Counties [link]

The Voter File

Voter File Basics

National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) Disclosure Law

Section 8 of the federal NVRA requires that each State maintain for at least 2 years and make available for public inspection and, where available, photocopying at a reasonable cost, all records concerning the implementation of programs and activities conducted for the purpose of ensuring the accuracy and currency of official lists of eligible voters, except to the extent that such records contain information about a person declining to register to vote or information about the identity of a voter registration agency through which a particular voter might have chosen to register.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

52 U.S.C. § 20507 [link]

Acquiring a Voter File

Under state procedure, who may acquire a voter file?

Any person. Click here to access the application.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Code § 17-4-38(c) [link]

Who is the state-level contact for acquiring a voter file?

Clay Helms

Phone: (334) 353-7177

E-mail: clay.helms@sos.alabama.gov

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Voter List Request Portal [link]

How much does the state charge for the file?

For an electronic copy, 1 cent per voter record (no minimum fee). For an online copy, 1 cent per voter record plus 2.5% for each voter record requested ($1.00 minimum fee). For a print copy, $1 per printed page.

However, following each state and county election, the Secretary of State must provide one electronic copy of the voter list free of charge to each political party that satisfied the ballot access requirements for that election. The electronic copy of the voter list must be provided within 30 days of the certification of the election or upon the completion of the election vote history update following the election, whichever comes first. In addition, upon written request from the chair of a political party, the Secretary of State must furnish up to two additional electronic copies of the voter file during each calendar year to each political party that satisfied the ballot access requirements during the last statewide election held before that calendar year.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Sec. of State, Voter List Fee Schedule [link]

What format is the file available in?

ASCII text file or Microsoft Excel file.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-07-08)

Ala. Sec. of State, Voter List Fee Schedule [link]

Use of the Voter File

Does the state have restrictions on commercial use of the voter file?

No.

Does the state have restrictions on non-commercial use of the voter file?

No.