Eleventh Circuit declines to stay Alabama curbside voting decision; State to appeal

Eleventh Circuit declines to stay Alabama curbside voting decision; State to appeal
File Photo: 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta has denied Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill’s emergency motion for a stay against a lower court’s order dealing with curbside voting during the ongoing pandemic.

The Eleventh Circuit’s ruling means a decision by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama stands and will allow probate judges to come up with protocols for curbside voting.

While Merrill concedes the June 15 preliminary injunction remains in force for the July 14 primary runoff election, he adds “this injunction only applies to Jefferson, Lee, and Mobile counties.”

In those three counties, voters can bypass a requirement they provide witness, notary, and photo ID in order to obtain an absentee ballot. Those residents can sign a statement indicating they have a medical condition that could put them at greater risk should they contract COVID-19.

The SPLC and other organizations hailed the ruling.

“This is an important win for Alabama voters at-risk for COVID-19,” said Caren Short, senior staff attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center. “As cases continue to surge across the state, disproportionately impacting Black Alabamians, it is critical that those most at-risk from COVID-19 can vote safely.”

“We are committed to preserving the integrity and credibility of the electoral process and protecting the opportunity for every eligible Alabama voter to participate in our elections in an unobstructed way,” Merrill said.

Merrill says that “even though our stay was denied, the case is still under review and our appeal is still under consideration by the Eleventh Circuit.”

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