Answers to frequent questions about Ala. election

Published 11:54 am Thursday, October 30, 2008

Where do I vote?

Alabama’s secretary of state has set up a Web site ( where people can put in their name and birthday. Then it will show the correct polling place. A voter may also call a county board of registrars.

When are the polls open?

Alabama polling places are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.

What identification do I need at the polls?

Voters need to carry one of a wide variety of approved identification, including a driver’s license; a photo ID issued by a college or employer; a current bank statement, utility bill, government check or paycheck with the voter’s name and address; a valid ID issued by the state or federal government; a current hunting or fishing license; a certified copy of a birth certificate; or a valid Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid or Electronic Benefits Transfer card.

What if I forget my ID?

Two poll workers can identify the person as a registered voter, or the person can cast a provisional ballot. Then election officials will verify if the person who cast the provisional ballot is registered to vote at that polling place. The ballot will be counted if the person is properly registered.

What can I wear to vote?

Some states prohibit campaign paraphernalia in polling places, but that is not the case in Alabama. Secretary of State Beth Chapman said voters can wear campaign T-shirts and stickers. But they can’t do any politicking inside a polling place and they can’t linger in a polling place after voting. Poll workers can’t wear any campaign attire.

Can I vote a straight ticket?

Alabama has straight ticket voting. Voters simply mark the spot by the party name at the top of the ballot. They do not have to mark that party’s candidate in each race.

Does a straight ticket vote cover every race where a party has a candidate?

False reports have circulated on the Internet that a straight ticket vote would not cover the presidential race in Alabama. The secretary of state said a straight ticket vote in Alabama covers every race, but not the constitutional amendments. The constitutional amendments must be voted individually.

What if I see possible fraud or other problems at the polls?

There are several ways to report it. The secretary of state has set up a Web site ( and a toll-free number (800-274-VOTE) to report possible fraud. Attorney General Troy King has set up a toll-free hot line (800-831-8814). The FBI will take reports at its Birmingham office (205-326-6166). Concerns about voter access or discrimination can be made to the Voting Rights Section of the Justice Department in Washington (800-253-3931).