Offices on the ballot
- U.S. House of Representatives (7 seats)
- Supreme Court Chief Justice
- Supreme Court Justice (4 seats)
- Court of Civil Appeals Judge (3 seats)
- Court of Criminal Appeals Judge (3 places)
- Public Service Commission President
- State Board of Education (4 seats; Districts 1, 3, 5, 7)
- Circuit Court Judges (various seats)
- District Court Judges (various seats)
- Circuit Clerks
- Probate Judges
Any Citizen May Register
Any person may register to vote, provided that he or she:
- is a citizen of the United States;
- resides in Alabama;
- is at least 18 years old on or before election day;
- has not been barred from voting due to a disqualifying felony conviction;
- and has not been declared mentally incompetent by a court.
Applicants may register the same day that they move into the state.
KEEP YOUR VOTER REGISTRATION RECORD UP TO DATE
A voter should immediately notify voter registration officials (Board of Registrars) of any changes, such as a change in name or address. The law requires that any voter whose name or address is not correct on the voter list must provide current information before being allowed to vote. The form to update registration information will be available at all polling places on election day. If a voter moves to another county within the state, he or she must re-register in the new county of residence.
RESTORATION OF VOTING RIGHTS
An individual who is barred from registering and voting by reason of a disqualifying felony conviction may request to have his or her voting rights restored by applying for a Certificate of Eligibility. An individual may qualify for a “Certificate of Eligibility” to vote if he or she has fulfilled all terms of the sentence for the disqualifying felony conviction. For further information, contact the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles at 334-242-8700.
WHEN TO REGISTER
citizens may register to vote all year, except during the ten days prior to an election and on election day. Voter registration is closed during the 10 days prior to any election and on election day so that the voter list can be compiled for the election. Voter registration applications must be postmarked, hand- delivered to the Board of Registrars, or submitted at a participating agency-based voter registration location no later than the registration deadline for an election. See page 2 for deadlines.
WHERE AND HOW TO REGISTER
A citizen may register to vote:
- when applying for or renewing a State of Alabama driver’s license or
- identification card;
- at state and local government offices when applying or re-certifying for Aid 3 to Dependent Children, Food Stamps, WIC, Medicaid, or Rehabilitation Services;
- at public libraries;
- at armed forces recruiting stations;
- at the Board of Registrars located at the county seat in the voter’s county of
- residence; or
- by mail-in form available at Probate Judge and License Commissioner offices,
- colleges and universities, public schools, or libraries. A mail-in registration
- form may also be obtained by calling the county Board of Registrars or the
- Elections Division in the Office of Secretary of State (SOS) at 1-800-274-VOTE
- by mail-in form downloaded from the Secretary of State’s website at alabamavotes.gov.
Applications must be filled out completely and legibly.
AT THE POLLING PLACE
“WHERE DO I VOTE?”
The county Board of Registrars sends to each voter a certificate of registration that includes the address of that voter’s polling place. A voter who has not received this card should contact the local Board of Registrars for information on his or her polling place. A voter can also verify where he or she votes on the Secretary of State’s web site at alabamavotes.gov. For municipal elections, check with the City Clerk.
Alabama polling places are open from 7 AM to 7 PM. Please note that polling places located in the Eastern Time Zone maybe open 7 AM to 7 PM Eastern Time.
BASIC VOTING PROCEDURE
- The voter appears at the polling place and provides his or her name to a poll worker. The voter must also present an acceptable form of identification.
Acceptable forms of identification are listed on page 5.
- A poll worker checks the individual’s name against the list of registered voters for that precinct. If the voter has an “I” by his/her name, the voter needs to update voter registration information. Before being allowed to vote, the voter must complete a Voter Update Form that is available at the polling place.
- The voter signs a poll list. If the election is a party primary, the voter must state in which party primary he or she wishes to vote and then must sign that party’s poll list.
- The voter casts his or her vote.
Voting procedures vary according to the type of equipment used. For more specific information, look for instructions printed in large type that should be visible at each polling place. Also, poll workers will provide information on voting procedures, at the voter’s request. Poll workers are not allowed to tell a citizen for whom to vote or to attempt to influence a voter’s choices in any way.
Replacement ballots are available if the voter makes a mistake in marking his or her ballot or if the ballot gets torn or otherwise damaged. The voter should take the original ballot to a poll worker and request a replacement ballot. The poll worker will issue a new ballot and place the original ballot in an envelope marked “spoiled ballots” for security purposes.
VOTER’S NAME IS NOT ON THE LIST OF VOTERS
If a person’s name does not appear on the list of registered voters for the polling place, the poll worker should contact the local Board of Registrars to determine if the person is eligible to vote at that polling place. If the Board of Registrars is unable to verify the person’s voter registration, he or she may vote a provisional ballot.
Acceptable forms of identification for use at the polling places
Voters must present one of the following forms of identification before they can vote:
- A current and valid photo identification issued by the government
- A current and valid photo identification issued by the voter’s employer
- A current and valid photo identification issued by a public or private college, university, or postgraduate technical or professional school located within the state
- A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter. The term “other government document” may include, but is not limited to, any of the following:
- A valid identification card issued by a branch, department, agency, or entity of the State of Alabama, any other state, or the United States authorized by law to issue personal identification.
- A valid United States passport.
- A valid Alabama hunting or fishing license
- A valid Alabama permit to carry a pistol or revolver
- A valid pilot’s license issued by the Federal Aviation Administration or other authorized agency of the United States
- A valid United States military identification card
- A certified copy of the voter’s birth certificate
- A valid Social Security card
- Certified naturalization documentation
- A certified copy of court records showing adoption or name change
- A valid Medicaid card, Medicare card, or an Electronic Benefits Transfer Card (formerly referred to as a “food stamp card”)
VOTER DOES NOT HAVE VALID ID
A voter must present a valid form of identification to be eligible to vote. A list of valid types of ID is provided on page 5. A voter who does not have identification can vote if he or she is positively identified by two election officials. If the voter does not have proper identification and cannot be positively identified by two election officials, he or she may vote a provisional ballot.
VOTING A PROVISIONAL BALLOT
A provisional ballot is voted the same as any other ballot except the voter must sign an affidavit attesting to his or her eligibility to vote.
Name not on poll list - The provisional ballot will be counted only if the county Board of Registrars is able to confirm, after the election, that the person casting the ballot is a duly qualified elector of the county.
No identification at the polling place - When a voter casts a provisional ballot because he or she does not have proper identification at the polling place, the voter has until 5:00 PM on the Friday following the election to submit the ID to the Board of Registrars. If proper ID is submitted by this deadline, the ballot will be counted.
Absentee ballot never received or cast - A voter may cast a provisional ballot if he or she did not receive a requested absentee ballot or the voter did not vote the absentee ballot.
MARKED SAMPLE BALLOTS
Voters may take items such as marked sample ballots into the polling place provided these items are used personally and are not distributed to others in the polling place. Also, the voter should not leave these items in the polling place.
CAMPAIGNING ON ELECTION DAY
Campaigning is allowed on election day as long as it is done at least 30 feet from the door of the building in which the poll is located. If the polling place is located in a room within a building, the campaigning must not be closer than 30 feet to the entrance of the building.
Any voter who wishes to have assistance is entitled to help. The voter may ask anyone (except his or her employer, an agent of the employer, or an officer or agent of the voter’s union) to give that assistance. If the voter does not request a specific individual, a poll worker may assist the voter at the request of the voter.
TIME IN THE BOOTH
A voter remaining in a voting machine booth (or in the polling place where paper ballots are used) for four minutes or longer may be asked by a poll worker if assistance is needed.
IF THE VOTER DOES NOT WANT ASSISTANCE, he or she is permitted to remain for one additional minute. At the end of that minute, if individuals are waiting to vote, the voter may be informed that time is up and may be asked to leave. If there is no line, the voter may have as much time as necessary to finish voting.
IF THE VOTER WANTS ASSISTANCE, he or she may have no less than an additional five minutes to vote. At the end of the time, if others are waiting to vote, the assisted voter may be told that time is up and may be asked to leave the polling place. However, if there are no voters waiting, the assisted voter shall have as much time as necessary to finish voting.
Polling places should be accessible to people with disabilities. At every polling place there will be voting equipment to accommodate voters with disabilities so that they can vote without assistance. If your specific disability is not accommodated, please contact your county’s Probate Judge.
Some laws governing each type of election vary. For example, primary elections are different from general elections.
PRIMARY ELECTION - Held by the political parties to select each party’s nominee for the general election. In the primary, separate party ballots are printed, and the voter must choose between the ballot with Democrats running against other Democrats or the one on which Republicans run against other Republicans.
If there are three or more candidates in a race, and if no one receives a majority of the votes cast, then a second primary election or runoff election is held between the two candidates who receive the highest number of votes in the first primary. The winner of this runoff election will be the party nominee.
GENERAL ELECTION - Held to determine which political party, independent, or write-in candidate will occupy each office that is up for election. In the general election, a voter may split the ticket to select candidates from all parties on the ballot; however, a voter may choose only one candidate per office.
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ELECTION - Held when constitutional amendments appear on the ballot. In a primary election, if a voter does not want to participate in one of the party primaries, he or she may vote on the amendments only.
In the 2010 elections, a voter may cast an absentee ballot if he or she:
- WILL BE ABSENT FROM THE COUNTY on election day;
- IS ILL OR HAS A PHYSICAL INFIRMITY that prevents a trip to the polling place;
- IS A REGISTERED ALABAMA VOTER LIVING OUTSIDE THE COUNTY including but not limited to, members of the armed forces or a U.S. Citizen residing overseas (or a spouse or dependent of such a person) or students at an educational institution located outside their county of residence;
- IS AN APPOINTED ELECTION OFFICER OR POLL WATCHER at a polling place other than his or her regular polling place; or
- WORKS A REQUIRED SHIFT WHICH HAS AT LEAST 10 HOURS that coincide with polling hours.
BUSINESS/MEDICAL EMERGENCY VOTING applications can be made after the absentee deadline but no later than 5 PM on the day before the election, if the voter:
- is required by an employer due to unforeseen circumstances to be out of the county on an emergency business trip on election day; or
- has a medical emergency requiring treatment from a licensed physician within 5 days of an election.
In addition to application information outlined in the next section, the business emergency application contains an affidavit acknowledging that the voter was not aware of the out-of-county business trip prior to the normal absentee ballot deadline. The medical emergency application requires that the attending physician describe and certify the circumstances as constituting an emergency.
CITIZENS RESIDING OVERSEAS AND THE MILITARY
Alabama citizens who are members of the Uniformed Services or their family members, Merchant Marines, commissioned corps of the Public Health Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Alabama overseas citizens (also known as UOCAVA voters) have two options as to how they can receive their blank absentee ballots 1) by electronic transmission; or (2) by U.S. mail.
To request election transmission of the blank ballot, UOCAVA voters must mark the appropriate box and provide an email address on the State of Alabama “UOCAVA application for Absentee Ballot” available from the Secretary of State’s web site (alabamavotes.gov). They may also mark “email/online” and provide an email address on the Federal Post Card application available from their voting Assistance Officer or from the web site of the Federal voting Assistance Program (fvap.gov).
UOCAVA voters also have expanded options for returning the voted absentee ballot. The ballot may be returned by U.S. Mail or by a commercial air or ground carrier. Please note that if returning the ballot by commercial air or ground carrier, the date the ballot is tendered to the carrier is considered the postmark date. UOCAVA voters should ensure that their ballot is postmarked or tendered to the commercial carrier by the deadline indicated on the above calendar for the election in which they are casting a ballot.
UOCAVA voters are no longer required to have the affidavit envelope accompanying their ballot notarized. However, the affidavit on the envelope must be witnessed by two persons 18 years of age or older.
UOCAVA voters may find additional information on absentee voting on the Internet from the Office of the Secretary of State at alabamavotes.gov or from the Federal voting Assistance Program (FVAP) at fvap.gov. Please note that the FVAP website provides information for UOCAVA voters only.
ABSENTEE BALLOT APPLICATION
To obtain an absentee ballot, write or visit the local Absentee election Manager (usually the Circuit Clerk), request an absentee ballot, and provide the following:
- name and residential address (or other such information in order to verify voter registration);
- election for which the ballot is requested;
- reason for absence from polls on election day;
- party choice, if the election is a party primary.*
- address to which the ballot should be mailed.
- voter signature (if a mark is made in place of a signature, it must be witnessed).
*It is not necessary to give a party choice for a general election; however, in a party primary a voter may participate in only one political party’s primary; thus a choice must be designated so that the appropriate ballot can be provided. If the voter declines or fails to designate a choice for a primary or primary runoff ballot, the absentee election manager may send only the ballot for constitutional amendments.
The absentee ballot application must be returned to the Absentee election Manager by the voter in person (or by the voter’s designee in the case of medical emergency voting) or by U.S. Mail.
Upon receiving the absentee ballot application, the Absentee election Manager may request additional evidence on the reason for voting absentee if the voter has a history of continuous absentee voting.
Applications for military personnel and overseas citizens
Applications submitted by military personnel and U.S. citizens residing overseas are valid for a period of two election cycles. However, these voters should ensure that they keep their mailing addresses updated with their counties’ Boards of Registrars and with the Absentee election Managers.
If the absentee ballot application is approved, the Absentee election Manager:
- forwards the absentee ballot by U.S. Mail; or
- personally hands the absentee ballot to the voter (or to a designee in the case of medical emergency voting).
Ballot procedures - The absentee ballot comes with three envelopes --one plain (the secrecy envelope), one with an affidavit, or oath, printed on the outside, and one plain, pres-addressed envelope (the outer envelope). Once the voter casts the ballot, the procedure is as follows:
- seal the ballot in the plain envelope.
- place the plain envelope inside the accompanying affidavit envelope.
- seal the affidavit envelope and complete the affidavit that is on the outside of the envelope.
- sign the affidavit and have the signature witnessed by either a notary public or two witnesses 18 years of age or older.
- place the affidavit envelope and a COPY of voter identification inside the outer envelope.
- remember to place a copy of your ID (NOT THE ORIGINAL) inside the outer envelope.
Witnesses or notarization - An absentee ballot cannot be counted unless the affidavit is notarized or has the signatures of two witnesses.
Submitting the voted ballot - The voter is required to use one of the following methods for returning his or her absentee ballot:
- send the ballot to the Absentee election Manager by U.S. Mail; or
- personally deliver the ballot to the Absentee election Manager (or by a designee in the case of medical emergency voting).
Voting deadline - An absentee ballot returned by mail must be postmarked no later than the day prior to the election. If hand-delivered, the ballot must be in the office of the Absentee election Manager by the close of business (but no later than 5 p.m.) on the day prior to the election. The absentee ballot must be received by the absentee election manager by noon on election day if the ballot is mailed.