Hundreds turn out in Madison County to request, fill out absentee ballots before deadline

Hundreds of people waited in line on Thursday, October 29, 2020, to submit their applications for an absentee ballot. This was the deadline for applications to be turned in.
Hundreds of people waited in line on Thursday, October 29, 2020, to submit their applications for an absentee ballot. This was the deadline for applications to be turned in.

Thursday, October 29 was the last day to request an absentee ballot. They are due back no later than November 2.

Posted: Oct 29, 2020 10:24 PM
Updated: Oct 30, 2020 8:05 AM

A long line wrapped its way around the Madison County Courthouse on Thursday as voters took advantage of the last possible day to request an absentee ballot. 

The queue brought together all kinds of voters, including those like Alabama A&M students Jherni Fisher and Alysia Green who were preparing to vote for the first time.

"And I'm very excited to take part in this election so my voice is heard and I can be part of the difference," Fisher said.

Alabama A&M has spent the past couple of weeks busing students who want to vote absentee down to the courthouse to fill out their absentee ballot applications. They also set up a booth to help answer any questions folks had about voting and hand out free snacks and bottles of water to those standing in line.

According to the Alabama Secretary of State's (SOS) Office, as of Thursday afternoon, 316,130 absentee ballot applications had been requested across the state and 259,201 were returned.

Madison County accounted for 38,542 of those requested, not counting those who filled out applications on Thursday. In Madison County, 33,652 people have returned their ballots.

One of those who requested and filled out her absentee ballot on Thursday was Ginger White, a 20-plus year member of the Huntsville Police Department.

"Well actually, I had forgotten that Tuesday was voting day and I'm going to be out of town next week. So, I had to jump on it today. And so, thank goodness, I got to get out of work and come down here and vote," White said.

Courthouse officials sent out an employee to mark the end of the line for those filling out an application. Oscar Trejo Jr. was one of the final people who made it into the queue before that moment. 

He said it was important for him to get his vote in sooner rather than later.

"I was pretty much advised by co-workers because they did it before, so I didn't want to be left behind and I didn't want to wait until the last minute," Trejo said.

And even though the wait lasted for an hour or more for some people, courthouse officials took steps to make sure older voters and those with disabilities didn't have to wait nearly as long.

"They got me my paperwork. My son was accompanying me and they also got him. And we were in there within about 15 minutes, so it wasn't bad at all," said voter Andrea Gaines.

The deadline to returning a completed absentee ballot is Monday, November 2. As far as the tabulation of those absentee ballots, a SOS spokesperson said the following in a statement:

"Absentee ballots will be opened, to begin tabulation, at 7:00 AM on Election Day. Actual counting of the absentee ballots, however, will not begin until the close of polls at 7:00 PM. We are confident all 67 counties will be reporting unofficial election results, including absentee totals, on election night. Official certification of election results will occur on November 23."

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