Voters in Calhoun County and all of Alabama will encounter four major differences as they prepare to head to the polls for the May 24 primary election.
The changes in the laws have taken place since the elections of 2020. They streamline the process, add to the time available for counting ballots and ensure the security of voting, according to Secretary of State John Merrill.
The first change pushes back the deadline for absentee officials to receive a mailed request for an application for an absentee ballot. The new deadline for the application to be received, by mail, in the absentee office is now seven days before an election; it had been five. If requested in person, the deadline for asking for an application is still on a Thursday.
The reason, according to Merrill, is to add more time for a voter’s application to be mailed back so he or she can return it and have their ballot sent in and counted by noon on election day. A ballot can now be delivered by more than only the U.S. Post Office, such as any federal or state-recognized carrier. These include FedEx and UPS.
In summary, there are three ways to obtain an application to vote absentee for the primary:
– Received by mail at 1702 Noble St., Suite 111, Anniston, AL 36201 by May 17;
– Potential voters may obtain an application online, but they must submit the application in person or by mail. No one can turn in an application for someone else by hand; rather, only the potential voter can do this. If questions, call 256-241-2822.
The second change affects those who have permanent disabilities and the elderly. They may fill out a special permanent disability application for obtaining an absentee ballot. They must have their initial application signed by a physician and notarized at the physician’s office. The permanent disability application is good for any election during one calendar year.
The third change establishes the time when absentee election managers begin counting ballots. The managers now operated under a law stating that may begin at 7 a.m.
The fourth change draws new district lines in Calhoun County to reflect population shifts as revealed in the 2020 Census. The populations of Alexandria and White Plains and Oxford grew.
Alabama has a population of approximately five million people with 105 members in the House of Representatives and 35 in the Senate. For the population to be equally represented, each district’s representative should have between 47,000 and 48,000 people. For the population to have equal representation in the Senate, each district should have between 142,000 and 143,000 people.
To learn more about the details regarding voting, visit www.alabamavote.gov or www.sos.alabama.gov. To read the laws pertaining to elections, type in the words on a search engine “Alabama code 1975.” Click on Item 17: Elections.