Absentee ballots for next month’s municipal elections are becoming available in cities and towns across Cullman County, giving residents who won’t be present on election day their first opportunity to exercise their right to vote away from the polls.
Each of the county’s 11 cities and towns will be holding elections on August 28 for mayor and council positions. The absentee voting guidelines in elections run by cities and towns are similar to those for primaries and general elections.
The Cullman County circuit clerk’s office is not involved in the absentee voting process for city-run elections. Absentee voters in the municipal elections must request their ballots from the local town clerk where they’ll be voting. Likewise, the completed ballots must be returned to the municipal clerk’s office.
Beginning this week, absentee ballots can be requested at any time until Aug. 23. Ballots can be requested in person at city and town halls, or can be obtained by written request sent to municipal clerks in the mail.
Mailed absentee votes must be postmarked August 27th, and must be received in the municipal clerk’s office before noon on election day. Absentee ballots may also be delivered in person until polls close August 28th. Mailed ballots must include a photocopy of a valid form of identification, such as a driver’s license.
Any qualified elector may vote an absentee ballot by mail, or in person at the municipal clerk’s office by making a written application and by meeting one of the following requirements:
The voter will be out of the country or the state on election day.
The voter has any physical illness or infirmity which prevents his attendance at the polls.
The voter works a shift which has at least 10 hours coinciding with the hours polls are open at his polling place.
The voter is enrolled as a student at an educational institution located outside the country where he resides and is prevented from attending the polls on election day.
The voter is a member of — or a spouse or dependent of — the U.S. armed forces, or is similarly qualified to vote absentee under the Federal Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act.
The voter has been appointed as an elections officer, or named as a poll watcher at a polling place other than his own.
Any registered elector who requires emergency treatment from a licensed physician within five days of an election may apply for an emergency absentee ballot for the election and may vote by returning the absentee ballot no later than noon on the day the election is held. The attendant physician must describe and certify the circumstances as constituting an emergency on a special form designed by the Secretary of State; the special form must be attached to the application.
Any completed application must be returned by the voter in person, or be sent in the mail. No one — not even a family member — can return another person’s application. Multiple applications cannot be mailed in the same envelope.
Completed absentee applications must provide the Alabama residence where the voter is registered to vote, even if the ballot is to be mailed to another address where the voter regularly receives mail. Contact the Cullman County board of registrars to update your address prior to applying for an absentee ballot, if you have recently moved.
*Benjamin Bullard can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com or by telephone at 734-2131 ext. 270.