Sec. of State John Merrill extends absentee voting due to Covid-19

John Merrill

Secretary of State John Merrill has allowed Covid-19 to be used as justification to vote by absentee ballot for the upcoming Montgomery City Council District 3 Special Election on March 23, 2021. Merrill filed a certification of emergency rules on January 20. The filing states, “It was unforeseen that the governor’s state of emergency would be extended and that the coronavirus pandemic would continue, thus necessitating a need for voters to vote absentee for any state, county, or municipal election scheduled during the public health emergency.” Alabama State law allows the Secretary of State to issue absentee voting guidance during declared states of emergency. A record number of absentee ballots cast for the November 3 election, with 2.3 million Alabamians voting. Projections estimated that more than 2.5 million people might vote. 62% registered voters came to the polls compared to 70% in the 2008 election. 

Montgomery County Probate Judge JC Love III commented, “We are glad that Secretary Merrill has granted us permission to use COVID-19 as a justification for voting absentee in this upcoming special election. I hope that it provides comfort to voters and encourages more voters in District 3 to participate in the election.”

Merrill also approved for Covid-19 to be used as a justification to vote absentee for the March 2, 2021, District 26 Special Election. That certification of emergency rules was filed on December 21, 2020. Voters can request an absentee ballot by mail or vote absentee in person at the Montgomery County Courthouse. The application to request an absentee ballot is online.

On the application for an absentee ballot, the voter needs to mark the box that states, “I have a physical illness or infirmity which prevents my attendance at the polls.”

The deadline for requesting an absentee ballot is February 25, 2021. Those ballots must be either hand-delivered to the Absentee Election Manager by 5:00 pm March 1, 2021, or received by mail by noon on March 2, 2021. Voters are being encouraged to check their voter status prior to election day. Voters can find their polling precinct online at