Absentee deadline is Oct. 30 for Nov. 4 General Election

Published 5:06 pm Monday, October 27, 2014

As voters in Chilton County prepare to head to the polls for the General Election Nov. 4, election officials are reminding those planning to vote to bring their photo ID.

This will be the first statewide general election where the new photo ID law is implemented.

Alabama is among 34 states that require voter identification at the polls.

“All voters will need to bring a photo ID with them to vote,” Chilton County Probate Judge Bobby Martin said. “We want the day to run easy for everyone involved so we hope people will bring their ID with them when they come to vote.”

Secretary of State Jim Bennett announced on Monday the deadline to request an absentee ballot is Oct. 30.

“If a voter will be out of the country on the day of the election, has a physical illness, is in the military or is a student, is working as a poll worker or works a shift of over 10 hours or more, that voter may request and vote an absentee ballot,” Bennett said in a release.

Absentee ballot applications can be downloaded from www.alabamavotes.gov and mailed to Chilton County Absentee Election Manager Glenn McGriff. A voter may also request an application by phone or receive an application from McGriff.

Overseas military personnel have always been exempt from showing a form of ID with their absentee ballot, but the new photo ID law has added a new group to that exemption for elderly and handicapped voters.

Elderly and handicapped voters who vote by absentee ballot are exempt from the photo ID requirement if their polling place is not accessible to them due to a neurological, musculoskeletal, respiratory (including speech organs), cardiovascular, or other life-altering disorder that affects the voter’s ability to perform manual tasks, stand for any length of time, walk unassisted, see, hear, or speak.

These voters are not required to place a form of ID with their absentee ballot. There is a place on the absentee ballot application for such voters to mark and if otherwise valid, these ballots will be counted with the inclusion of a photo ID.

Voters who fall into this elderly and handicapped exception must check two boxes on their absentee application.

The first check will be on the actual reason for making the absentee ballot application which states, “I have a physical illness or infirmity which prevents my attendance at the polls.”

The second check will be in a box placed directly under that reason for absentee application which speaks to the elderly and handicapped exception.

“Voters who fit this category need to make sure to check both boxes on the application,” Bennett said in a release. “That was so the Absentee Election Manager in their county will know not to look for an ID with their ballot.

One change to voters in Chilton County this year includes 21 new voting machines, as new laws required technological upgrades in counties throughout Alabama for the election.

Anything older than 15 years old required an upgrade.

The county is leasing the new voter machines from Election Systems and Software and the model of the machines is the DS 200 Digital Precinct Scan.

Chilton County also qualified for a Help America Vote Act (HAVA) grant allowing each precinct in the county an iPad for voting.

Poll workers were able to use the iPad’s for the first time during the June 3 Primary Election and the June 15 Primary Runoff Election.

The iPads allow poll workers to look up the voter’s list for the entire county as opposed to that particular precinct.

“We have found that the iPads are extremely helpful to the poll workers,” Martin said. “If someone doesn’t know where they should be voting, it allows the poll worker to find out that information quickly.”

Martin said that closing out the new machines during the June 3 Primary was much faster than previous years, and anticipates a quick turnaround of results for the General Election on Tuesday.

With the new machines, poll workers load the precinct results onto a thumb drive.

Voters must show one of the following forms of valid photo ID to vote Nov. 4:

•Alabama driver’s license

•Alabama non-driver ID

•Alabama photo voter ID card

•State issued ID (Alabama or any other state)

•Federal issued ID

•Valid U.S. passport

•Employee ID from federal government, state of Alabama, county, municipality, board or other entity of the state of Alabama

•Student or employee ID from a public or private college or university in Alabama (including postgraduate technical or professional schools)

•Student or employee ID issued by a state institution of higher learning in any other state

•Military ID

•Tribal ID

A voter who is required to present a valid photo ID, but who does not do so, will be allowed to vote a provisional ballot as provided by law.

Absentee ballots are available at the Chilton County Circuit Clerk’s/Absentee Election Manager’s Office, Room 304 at the Chilton County Courthouse.