HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The Alabama Primary Runoff Election is next Tuesday, July 14 and due to the coronavirus pandemic, several things will look different this year.
Madison County Probate Judge Frank Barger said they are taking every precaution they can to limit the spread of COVID-19 at Tuesday’s election. Barger said wearing masks while voting is highly encouraged, but they will not deny someone their constitutional right if they do not want to wear a mask.
Barger said poll workers will be encouraging masks and will have them on-hand to give to anyone who does not have one.
Instead, Barger encourages those people unwilling to wear a mask to think of the volunteers who work very hard to make sure our elections happen.
“A majority of them are above the age of 65 and they’re very committed to this work and they’re willing to make the sacrifice to be out there,” he said. “In turn, I would ask if you’re coming into vote, be courteous enough to wear a mask.”
Barger added Tuesday’s ballot has very few items on it, so you won’t be wearing your mask for very long.
On Tuesday, all 72 polling locations in Madison County will be open and there will be 700 people working the election.
All poll workers will be wearing PPE, there will be cleanings of equipment throughout the day, social distancing will be enforced and officials are asking you bring your own pen.
If you feel uncomfortable voting during the pandemic, you can register to vote absentee until close of business on Thursday, July 9.
Barger said you can also go to the County Clerk’s office at the Madison County Courthouse and vote absentee in person before the end of business on July 9.
If you request an absentee ballot, it needs to be postmarked for return no later than July 13, 2020, the day before the election.
Remember if you do vote absentee, you’ll need a copy of your I.D., the signature of two witnesses, among additional requirements.
If you have any questions about voting absentee in Madison County, you can call 256-532-3684 or go to the Madison County Votes website.
The idea of curbside voting has been thrown around during the pandemic, but the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the possibility of it happening in a July 2 decision.
Barger weighed in, he said even if it was allowed they do not have all of the staffing to make it possible in Madison County, especially at the last second.
Barger said they have been preparing for this election for months but they could’ve missed some sort of detail to further prevent the spread of COVID-19. Ultimately, Barger said this Primary Runoff is a good dry run for the Presidential Election in November.
If you are not registered to vote in Alabama, you are too late for this election but there are two more this year in August and November. You can register to vote on the Alabama Secretary of State’s website.