Deadline to vote absentee in municipal election getting closer

Published: Aug. 18, 2020 at 1:31 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Alabama is getting ready for it’s second election during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In next week’s municipal election both the Huntsville and Madison mayor will be on the ballot, along with two city council seats in Huntsville and every seat on the Madison City Council.

If you want to vote absentee, you have until this Thursday to get your absentee ballot application to your city clerk. Once they have your application, they can send you a ballot and then you will send it back. For your vote to count it needs to be back to election officials by Tuesday at Noon.

Time is running out and these deadlines make for some quick turnarounds, all while there are questions surrounding the U.S. Postal Service’s ability to handle mail in votes during the general election in November.

The Madison City Clerk Melanie Williard and the Huntsville City Clerk Kenneth Benion both said they have not seen any problems so far with USPS and the delivery of absentee ballot applications.

Plus, the turnout for this municipal election will be smaller than the general election, meaning less absentee applications for the postal service to handle.

At the same time, both Benion and Williard are seeing more absentee applications than usual. As of Monday morning, Benion said 1,300 people had applied to vote absentee in Huntsville. He said usually they see about 300 people vote absentee.

“We’re pulling staff to process those so it’s been a strain on the staff but we are getting it taken care of,” he said.

In Madison, Williard said they have also seen an increase in applications, but not as significantly as Huntsville.

With time winding down for people to apply, Williard and Benion said people need to hurry and if you haven’t sent in your absentee application yet, you may be too late.

Both Benion and Williard encourage you not to risk it, instead, just come to your city hall and fill out your absentee application there.

A majority of people will still decide to vote at their polling place. Both Madison and Huntsville will have several safety precautions in place to keep voters and poll workers safe.

“They have signage to social distance, poll workers have masks, shields, gloves, hand sanitizer and they will be redirecting traffic to avoid congestion in lines,” Benion said.

A mask is not required to vote but is highly encouraged.

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