Alabama Secretary of State says no-excuse voting won't lead to higher voter turnout

No-excuse early voting is against Alabama state law.

Posted: Oct 27, 2020 10:01 PM
Updated: Oct 28, 2020 2:00 PM

Absentee and mail-in voting are how Alabamians can early vote this election. No-excuse early voting is against Alabama state law.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, some kind of early voting is allowed in 43 states, including Alabama. However, only 34 states plus Washington D.C. have no-excuse early voting.

It has some people questioning, why not Alabama?

"It doesn't work in Alabama because it's against the law," Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said.

Merrill says without it, more people are still taking part in Alabama's form of early voting than ever before.

"We've actually had 286,000 absentee ballot applications successfully submitted and more than 221,000 absentee ballots successfully returned," Merrill said.

Merrill said if lawmakers decided to include no-excuse early voting, it would cost the state more money, and would not make a huge impact on voter turnout.

"It should be noted that currently for the sixth consecutive election, we have broken records for voter participation with the way the laws are currently amended and the administration of the election in its current form," Merrill said.

However, voting activist Fred Whitlow II believes lawmakers should continue to expand voting access. He has been working all summer and fall to get people registered to vote and has witnessed first-hand how early voting options help encourage people to take part.

"The majority of our country is doing it, the majority of those engaged are finding success," Whitlow said. "Not only that, but there's not only more participation, but there are more resources."

It is a change both Republicans and Democrats can get behind. Limestone County Republican Party Chairman Noah Wahl said the local party does not have an official stance on the issue, but he personally would support changes in order to make voting easier for people.

The Madison County Democratic Chairman and State Representative, Anthony Daniels, feels the same.

In fact, he said Representative Thomas "Action" Jackson introduced a bill expanding early voting, but it never made its way to a committee.

However, both Merrill and Gov. Kay Ivey insist Alabama's voting process works the way it is.

"Why would you want everybody to pay for the convenience for a few?" Merrill said.

Come Nov. 3, employers in Alabama are required to allow their employees to have time off in order to vote. The employee just has to give reasonable notice and they have up to an hour to vote.

For more information on absentee ballot voting, click here.

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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 420681

Reported Deaths: 6119
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson61755921
Mobile30058548
Madison26852186
Tuscaloosa20652266
Montgomery18876305
Shelby18421114
Baldwin16176182
Lee12393101
Morgan12175113
Etowah11687168
Calhoun11078200
Marshall10158107
Houston8556148
Cullman7999105
Limestone796274
Elmore7783101
DeKalb767197
Lauderdale752883
St. Clair7502120
Talladega6145108
Walker5880174
Jackson578841
Colbert529873
Blount529283
Autauga515455
Coffee438156
Dale394381
Franklin365248
Chilton335365
Covington326968
Russell326810
Escambia316142
Dallas302896
Chambers281869
Clarke279633
Tallapoosa2607107
Pike247629
Marion244650
Lawrence242547
Winston225535
Bibb214447
Geneva199535
Marengo197829
Pickens196231
Hale175442
Barbour172336
Butler168458
Fayette167126
Cherokee160030
Henry152721
Monroe145017
Randolph138835
Washington137026
Clay126145
Crenshaw118644
Lamar117519
Cleburne117223
Macon114335
Lowndes109535
Wilcox102621
Bullock98728
Perry96919
Conecuh94220
Sumter88826
Greene75723
Coosa60515
Choctaw51224
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 680847

Reported Deaths: 8355
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby757471115
Davidson70180656
Knox38327390
Hamilton34288326
Rutherford32907282
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Williamson21226138
Sumner18067229
Out of TN1593479
Wilson14327154
Montgomery14229148
Sullivan12473210
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Blount11784123
Maury10903123
Bradley1066290
Sevier10406108
Putnam9896136
Madison9031178
Robertson757085
Hamblen6910109
Anderson6723102
Greene6548108
Tipton616265
Gibson5594111
Coffee557281
Cumberland535272
Dickson532677
Bedford530386
Roane515078
Carter5074112
Lawrence506369
McMinn503273
Warren496253
Loudon490750
Dyer471582
Jefferson470575
Monroe452162
Hawkins441768
Franklin407958
Obion398978
Fayette391751
Rhea379156
Lincoln376144
Cocke341256
Marshall340336
Weakley338248
Cheatham333529
Henderson331656
Campbell319740
Giles319371
White308543
Hardeman307652
Carroll306159
Hardin296047
Lauderdale292831
Macon287050
Wayne260019
Henry259158
Overton251342
DeKalb241241
Haywood238545
McNairy236842
Smith230027
Trousdale228614
Marion226631
Scott223631
Hickman221734
Fentress212331
Grainger207235
Claiborne205522
Johnson201232
Morgan187114
Crockett180038
Bledsoe173210
Chester172237
Unicoi165943
Cannon156619
Lake154519
Decatur146426
Polk141817
Grundy139120
Union137721
Sequatchie135618
Humphreys132017
Benton131935
Lewis127220
Meigs113316
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Clay93426
Houston93322
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