I sent this e-mail to our local legislators in Montgomery.
Per Secretary of State John Merrill’s suggestion during this pandemic, I decided to vote absentee for the Republican primary run-off.
You may know there are at least three organizations suing Alabama over its absentee voting laws. Here are the problems I ran up against.
When the courthouses were closed, voters could only get the application via the Secretary of State’s website. Many voters do not have access to the internet.
The courthouse opened May 18.
On the application, voters must select a reason to absentee vote.
The Secretary of State’s website tells voters to select, “I have a physical illness or infirmity which prevents my attendance at the polls. [ID REQUIRED]”
This is a lie and a crime but authorized by the Secretary of State. A choice of “No Excuse” would be simple and allow voters a simple way to vote Absentee in any election, now or in the future without having to lie.
After completing the application, voters must include a copy of a photo ID. If voters don’t have a photo ID, they can’t get one with the courthouses closed.
Also, if they don’t have a way to copy their ID, they have a problem, too.
If they get through all of this and mail the application it only gets worse.
The ballot comes inside three more layers of envelopes, all but the most interior security envelope marked with the political party and election type (Primary Run Off) on the outside for all to see.
I’m sure no disgruntled postal workers would ever lose, delay or destroy a ballot of an opposing party.
After marking the ballot, voters place it inside a security envelope. They place this inside another envelope marked affidavit of absentee voter.
On one side is the political party and election type and the other side has an affidavit to complete.
The voter must again indicate why they are entitled to vote absentee.
However, the statement indicated by the Secretary of State to mark on the application is not one of the options.
There is a completely different list. The voter must now select a new lie without guidance from the Secretary of State. (I contacted his office about this problem and got crickets.)
Finally, the voter must sign the affidavit in the presence of a notary or two witnesses.
This violates the intent of social distancing.
After getting through this hurdle, this envelope is placed inside another envelope for mailing.
It, too, is marked with the political party and election type.
The voter now has only two options to turn-in the absentee ballot.
They, or anyone, can take it to a post office, where everyone can see the voter’s political party and pay postage of about $1.50, or, they can take it to the absentee ballot manager at the courthouse and turn it in.
No one other than the voter can turn it in – even though it is in triple sealed in verified envelopes that are good enough to give to any random postal worker.
This is ridiculous. A spouse, other family member, friend, or anyone else should be as or more trustworthy to deliver the sealed envelope than a bunch of random postal workers.
So, you see, there are problems that must be addressed in the law and in the process and procedures to make absentee voting safe, convenient and reasonable for Alabama voters.
Larry W. Sortor