New law tightens Alabama absentee voter requirements

Secretary of State John Merrill says the Alabama’s laws surrounding the use of excess campaign...
Secretary of State John Merrill says the Alabama’s laws surrounding the use of excess campaign funds for legal expenses of someone other than the office holder or candidate are clear. (Source: WSFA 12 News)
Updated: Aug. 6, 2019 at 6:23 PM EDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - A new voting law has gone into effect in Alabama with an aim at tightening requirements for voters who wish to cast an absentee ballot. The new legislation does several things.

First, it requires a voter to provide a copy of their valid photo ID when submitting their absentee ballot application.

According to Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill’s office, prior to the new regulation, it was difficult for Absentee Election Managers to verify the voter’s identity because of the lack of photo ID.

Additionally, the new law does away with a requirement that Absentee Election Managers publish a list of absentee voters, as well as their addresses and polling places. Merrill’s office said that was part of an effort to protect voter privacy as well as to keep info from being compromised.

“Now more than ever, we are making it easier to vote and harder to cheat!" Merrill said. "By streamlining the process to verify absentee voters, we are making the submission of an absentee application easier and more efficient for all who are eligible.”

Merrill added that the law creates two new instances for which voters can submit an absentee ballot: if a voter is the caregiver to an immediate family member or if a voter has been incarcerated but has not been convicted of a disqualifying felony.

Alabama Act 2019-507 officially went on the books on Aug. 1.

Copyright 2019 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.