MONTGOMERY, AL (WTVM) - Alabama Secretary of State Jim Bennett reminds voters that the deadline to request an absentee ballot is Oct. 30.
"If a voter will be out of the county on the day of the election, has a physical illness, is in the military or is a student, is working as a poll worker or works a shift of over 10 hours or more, that voter may request and vote an absentee ballot," Bennett said.
Absentee ballot applications can be downloaded from www.alabamavotes.gov and mailed to the Absentee Election Manager in the county where the voter is registered. A voter may also request an application by phone or receive an application from their Absentee Election Manager in person.
The Nov. 4 election will be the first statewide general election where the new photo voter ID law is implemented. This law brings some changes to the absentee ballot process, as well.
While overseas military personnel have always been exempt from showing a form of ID with their absentee ballot, the new law has added a new group to that exemption for elderly and handicapped voters.
Elderly and handicapped voters who vote by absentee ballot are exempt from the photo ID requirement if their polling place is not accessible to them due to: a neurological, musculoskeletal, respiratory (including speech organs), cardiovascular, or other life-altering disorder that affects the voter's ability to perform manual tasks, stand for any length of time, walk unassisted, see, hear, or speak. These voters are not required to place a form of ID with their absentee ballot. There is a place on the absentee ballot application for such voters to mark and if otherwise valid, these ballots will be counted without the inclusion of a photo ID.
Voters who fall into this elderly and handicapped exception must check two boxes on their absentee application. The first check will be on the actual reason for making the absentee ballot application which states: I have a physical illness or infirmity which prevents my attendance at the polls. The second check will be in a box placed directly under that reason for absentee application which speaks to the elderly and handicapped exception.
"Voters who fit this category need to make sure to check both boxes on the application. That way the Absentee Election Manager in their county will know not to look for an ID with their ballot," Bennett said.
"We encourage every voter who can to go and vote in the Nov. 4 election. If a voter needs an absentee ballot for that day, we encourage them to apply for one. Every vote counts and can make a difference," Bennett said.
For more information on the absentee ballot application process or to find out more about the elderly and handicapped exception, please visit www.alabamavotes.gov or call 1-800-274-VOTE.