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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: 247229

Reported Deaths: 3577
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson32718500
Mobile19904362
Madison13425148
Tuscaloosa13167154
Montgomery12380236
Shelby1046577
Baldwin882098
Lee778566
Morgan675150
Calhoun6366121
Etowah635166
Marshall630955
Houston532338
DeKalb489736
Cullman447442
Limestone430245
St. Clair425755
Lauderdale413354
Elmore409464
Walker3689111
Talladega353554
Jackson327123
Colbert314642
Blount294640
Autauga275142
Franklin254233
Coffee246515
Dale234454
Dallas226532
Chilton225038
Russell22313
Covington220334
Escambia198631
Chambers177250
Tallapoosa177091
Pike159214
Clarke158919
Marion141336
Winston134423
Lawrence129636
Pickens124218
Geneva12378
Marengo122524
Bibb118817
Barbour117511
Butler117342
Randolph103821
Cherokee102924
Hale97731
Fayette92216
Clay92024
Washington91619
Henry8676
Lowndes79929
Monroe79011
Cleburne77414
Macon74522
Crenshaw71230
Bullock70019
Perry6896
Conecuh68514
Lamar6838
Wilcox63918
Sumter58422
Greene42718
Choctaw42613
Coosa3464
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 366518

Reported Deaths: 4554
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby47963660
Davidson42880420
Knox18930149
Rutherford17930161
Hamilton16861152
Williamson1149080
Sumner9817137
Out of TN776154
Wilson752678
Montgomery668083
Sullivan648597
Washington6073106
Putnam597582
Maury591867
Blount553161
Madison5368110
Bradley525234
Sevier493731
Unassigned484222
Robertson381253
Tipton371139
Hamblen350161
Gibson324265
Dyer322051
Greene311672
Anderson298729
Dickson293834
Coffee284841
Bedford278830
Carter274955
Lawrence270134
Obion268651
Cumberland261136
McMinn255055
Warren241020
Roane237029
Jefferson229533
Loudon229319
Fayette226938
Hardeman225337
Monroe217844
Weakley217837
Franklin211934
Lauderdale205823
Hawkins196834
Wayne192810
Trousdale190812
Henderson185434
Macon184628
Hardin179025
White176718
Marshall176520
Carroll176434
Rhea171431
Haywood163330
Cocke162330
Lincoln161416
Cheatham159817
Campbell155223
Overton155035
Henry154319
Giles147549
Smith145319
Johnson142421
McNairy141133
Fentress122120
Hickman119319
Lake11786
Bledsoe11745
DeKalb117322
Crockett115626
Marion110119
Scott10857
Chester102821
Grainger101518
Decatur95712
Unicoi86226
Claiborne8499
Benton81614
Grundy77914
Cannon7693
Lewis76514
Morgan7396
Union7225
Humphreys7198
Jackson68410
Polk67315
Stewart60115
Houston58820
Clay55418
Sequatchie5325
Meigs49513
Perry48421
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Hancock1723

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