The state of Alabama is allowing people to use coronavirus as an excuse to fill out absentee ballots in the upcoming municipal elections in August.
The Alabama Secretary of State allowed coronavirus as an excuse for an absentee ballot during the July run-off election and extended it to the municipal elections.
Bob Leyde, the Florence City Clerk who is also the election manager, said physically, they are preparing the city's 12 polling locations. They have ordered hand sanitizer, masks and plastic partitions to protect poll workers, and they are preparing for more people to choose absentee ballots in the upcoming local elections on Aug. 25.
So far, they have sent out around 100 absentee ballots.
"I certainly don't blame people for staying home and not wanting to go to the polls," said Leyde.
Leyde said if you are concerned about the virus, you can still vote via an absentee ballot. Just check the box saying you have a physical illness.
"In the past, we've had anywhere from 150 to 400 people that have voted absentee, but I have no idea on this one with COVID," said Leyde.
Leyde said there are 27,000 registered voters and a normal turnout of more than 5,000 voters in the city limits. Leyde said they have 1,200 absentee ballots, which is about 200 per district.
Leyde said there is a slight change this year. In the past, you'd send in your ballot with your candidate marked and a copy of a state-issued photo ID. Now, you will fill out the absentee application and present a copy of a state-issued photo ID to get your ballot mailed to you.
"Yesterday, we received 23 applications in the mail, and this morning, we are returning those ballots to people so they can vote," said Leyde.
Once your ballot is filled out, you can mail it in on Aug. 24 or earlier. You can also drop it at the city clerk's office in downtown Florence.
For your ballot to count, you have to have two people sign it saying they witnessed you fill out the ballot, or get a notary. The last day to apply for an absentee ballot is Aug. 20.