Absentee voting now open

Published 3:00 am Friday, July 7, 2017

With the special election for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions just over a month away, absentee ballots are ready for pickup at the Pike County Courthouse.

Jamie Scarbrough, absentee election manager, said it’s important to get the word out and remind residents of the election since this is usually an “off year.”

“This is a very important seat – our U.S. senator,” Scarbrough said. “It’s going to be a very important vote. We need voter turnout.”

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Sessions forfeited his Senate seat when he was appointed U.S. Attorney General. 18 candidates are seeking the seat, 8 Democrats and 10 Republications. The statewide special election will begin with the primaries on August 15. If necessary, runoffs will be held September 26 and the election will conclude on December 12.

Scarbrough said absentee voting began in late June, and Pike County hasn’t seen a heavy turnout. However, Scarbrough is trying to make sure residents are aware of the new law that blocks crossover voting.

“There was legislation passed (earlier this year that states) that however you vote in the primary, that’s how you have to vote in runoff,” Scarbrough said. ”So if you vote Democrat in the primary and there’s no Democrat runoff, you can’t vote in the Republican runoff.”

In line with that new law, Scarbrough said it’s important for residents to designate their party affiliation on the application.

August 10 is the deadline to return completed applications and ballots must be turned in by noon on Election Day (August 15).

Applications for absentee voting and voter information are available on the website of the Alabama Secretary of State at http://www.sos.state.al.us and http://pike.alacourt.gov or at the Pike County Courthouse at 120 W. Church St. They can also be requested by phone from Scarbrough’s office at 334-566-5113.

The voter must return his or her application either through the mail or in person. Scarbrough said she cannot take a completed application from anyone else, even the voter’s spouse. 

The ballot will then be sent by mail and voters should follow the instructions provided with the ballot to mail it back.

In order to vote absentee, a qualified voter must:

• be out of the county or state on Election Day,

• have a physical illness or infirmity which prevents his or her attendance at the polls, whether he or she is within or outside the county on the day of election,

• work a shift which has at least 10 hours which coincide with the hours the polls are open at his or her regular polling place,

• be enrolled as a student at an educational institution located outside the county of his or her personal residence which prevents his or her attendance at the polls,

• be a member of, or spouse or dependent of a member of, the armed forces of the United States or be similarly qualified to vote absentee pursuant to the Federal Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, 42 U.S.C. 1973ff, or

• have been appointed as an election officer or named as a poll watcher at a polling place other than his or her regular polling place.

Separate applications for absentee ballots are required for elections which are more than 42 days apart, except as to individuals voting pursuant to the Federal Uniformed and Overseas Absentee Voting Act, 42 U.S.C. 1973ff.

Completed absentee applications must include the Alabama residence where the voter is registered to vote, even if the ballot is to be mailed to another address where the applicant/voter regularly receives mail. If you have moved and have not updated your voter registration, you should contact the Pike County Board of Registrars at 120 W. Church St. Troy, AL  36081 and update your address prior to applying for an absentee ballot.  You may contact the registrar’s office at 334-566-1757.

The absentee election manager is required to post each day a list of absentee voters to include names, addresses and voting places of each applicant. This list will be posted on the public bulletin board on the first floor of the courthouse.