Election day: here’s what to know before you head to the polls

Nov 6 election
[Photo Credit: Alabama Today]

Big decisions will be made Tuesday as Alabamians statewide head to the polls to cast their ballots in the general election.

Voters will have from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. to choose between candidates is races across the state.

Here’s what you need to know before you head to the polls:

Valid ID

A voter can use any of the following forms of photo ID at the polls:

  • Valid driver’s license
  • Valid non-driver ID
  • Valid Alabama photo voter ID
  • Valid state issued ID (Alabama or any other state)
  • Valid federal issued ID
  • Valid US passport
  • Valid employee ID from federal government, State of Alabama, county government, municipality, board, authority, or other entity of this state
  • Valid student or employee ID from a college or university in the State of Alabama (including postgraduate technical or professional schools)
  • Valid military ID
  • Valid tribal ID

If you do not have a valid photo ID you  may vote only if you are identified by two election officials in the polling place as a voter on the poll list who is eligible to vote and the election officials execute an affidavit stating this.

If you do not have a valid photo ID and the election officials are not able to identify you, you must cast a provisional ballot.

Polling place

Not sure where you vote? You can find your polling place online here by simply entering in the address from which you registered to vote.

Sample ballots

Your ballot is based on your county and its associated political districts such as School Board, State Legislative Districts, and U.S. Congressional District. You may view the sample ballot for your county here.

  • Candidate profiles. Throughout the election cycle Alabama Today invited all candidates running for office in Alabama this year to complete a questionnaire we believe offers an interesting, albeit, thumbnail sketch of who they are and why they are running. Here are the responses we’ve gotten thus far (includes some primary candidate responses as well).

Straight party voting

Straight party voting means you simply fill in one bubble next to you party of choice and then you vote is cast every candidate of that particular party, without having to physically mark every candidate.

Secretary of State John Merrill issued a statement Wednesday to let voters know that if want to generally vote straight party, but perhaps there’s one race where they’d like to support someone outside of their party, there’s still an easy way to do that.

“If a voter wishes to vote for any candidate outside the party that they have chosen, they may do so by marking the space next to the candidate’s name,” Merrill explained in a statement. “Regardless of whether the voter cast a straight party vote or not, filling in the bubble next to a candidate’s name will be counted as the voter’s choice in that contest.”

Write-in votes

When the candidate you would like to vote for is not listed on the ballot, you may vote for that person by writing his or her name in the blank “write-in” box on the ballot. Each contest on the ballot has a “write-in” box. You must also shade in the circle next to that “write-in” box to ensure your vote is tabulated properly.

In the event that the voter selects the “straight-party” option they may still “write-in” a candidate for any race they choose in the blank area designated for “write-ins.”  Each vote for a “write-in” candidate will override the “straight-party” vote only for the race with the “write-in” area filled in.

Designated “inactive”

If you were designated “inactive” you can still cast a ballot on Tuesday, but must first fill out a form at your polling place to update their address.

Most of those voters were declared inactive during voter roll maintenance when the state was unable to reach the person with mailed postcards. Alabama voters are listed as inactive after a mailed registration card was returned as undeliverable and they didn’t respond to a second forwarded postcard.

People can check their voting information at the secretary of state’s website.

Voter fraud

If you experience any issues at the polling place contact the Statewide Elections & Voter Fraud Hotline: 1-800-274-VOTE (8683).