ALABAMA Frequently Asked Questions

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1 ALABAMA Frequently Asked Questions Disclaimer: This guide is designed for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The Election Protection Coalition does not warrant any information contained in this guide, nor does the Coalition suggest that the information in this guide should be used as a basis to pursue legal advice or decision making. Questions Involving Access to the Ballot: 1. It is after 7:00 A.M. and the polling place is not open. The polls must be open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Polling places located in the Eastern Time Zone may be open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time. [Ala. Code ; Alabama Voter Guide 2014] If you are a hotline volunteer and the polling place is not open at 7:00 a.m., contact your hotline captain, and they will notify the command center, the county s Judge of Probate, or other county election officials. Advise the voters to stay at the polling location and that someone is contacting an election official to address the issue. If you are a field volunteer at a polling place and it is not open at 7:00 a.m., try to speak with the poll workers and find out why the polling place isn t open and an estimated time of opening. Then contact your command center, which will notify the local county Judge of Probate or other election officials. 2. It is 7:00 P.M. and my precinct is closed or closing and they will not let me vote. A qualified voter waiting within the voting room to vote at 7:00 p.m. must be allowed to vote by the election officers. [Ala. Code ] If you are a hotline volunteer and are notified that a polling place is closing prior to 7:00 p.m. or not letting voters who were within the voting room at 7:00 p.m. to vote, contact your hotline captain, and they will immediately notify the command center, the county s Judge of Probate, or other county election officials. Advise the voters to stay at the polling place and that someone is contacting an election official to address the issue. If you are a field volunteer at a polling place and it is closing prior to 7:00 p.m. or not letting voters who were within the voting room at 7:00 p.m. vote, try to persuade voters to stay 1

2 at the polling place. Then try to speak with a poll worker and make sure they understand that voters in the voting room at 7:00 p.m. have a right to vote. Contact your command center, which will immediately notify the local county Judge of Probate or other county election officials. 3. There are equipment problems at my precinct and I cannot vote. What should I do? Voters should immediately notify the election officers if the voting equipment breaks down while the polls are open. Additionally, a voter should ask if an emergency paper ballot is available. If you are a hotline volunteer and learn of equipment not working properly at a polling place, notify your hotline captain, who will notify a voting machine expert or speak with election officials. If you are a field volunteer at a polling place and the equipment is not working properly, notify the command center, which will notify a voting machine expert. Remember, a voter can use an emergency paper ballot, and should request one if it is not offered. Voter Registration and Who Can Vote: 1. My name doesn t appear on the voting list. Under what circumstances could it have been removed from the list of registered voters? A voter s name can be removed from the list of registered voters whenever the county Board of Registrars receives and confirms information that a voter has died, become a non-resident of the state or county, been declared mentally incompetent, been convicted of a felony involving moral turpitude or otherwise become disqualified. [Ala. Code ] Any voter whose name was removed from a county s voter registration list on the basis of a determination of ineligibility who subsequently becomes eligible to vote must reregister in order to have his or her name restored to the list of qualified electors for that county. [Ala. Code ; Ala. Code ; Ala. Code ] 2. I have a felony conviction. Can I vote? In many instances, yes. A person who has been convicted of a felony involving moral turpitude (other than treason or impeachment), whether in state or federal court, may have his or her right to vote restored if he or she obtains a pardon that specifically restores the right to vote, or if he or she is granted a Certificate of Eligibility to Vote by the Board of Pardons and Paroles. A person may apply to the Board of Pardons and Paroles for a Certificate of Eligibility to Vote if his or her conviction was for a felony other than treason, impeachment, murder, rape, or various sexual offenses; he or she has no criminal felony charges pending against him or her; he or she has paid all fines, court costs, fees, and 2

3 victim restitution associated with the conviction; and he or she has completed his or her sentence, including any period of probation and parole. If a person has been convicted of a felony that does not involve moral turpitude, he or she remains eligible to vote and does not need to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility to Vote or receive a pardon. Specific crimes considered not to involve moral turpitude include assault, doing business without a license, violating liquour laws, aiding a prisoner to escape, possession of an illegal substance, and driving under the influence. [Ala. Const. art. VIII, 177; Ala. Code ; Ala. Code ; Ala. Op. Atty. Gen. No ] 3. Can I vote if I was indicted or charged with a crime but not convicted? Yes. Only upon conviction of a felony shall a person s civil rights be suspended in Alabama. 4. I am a college student. Can I vote where I go to school? A college student may register to vote in Alabama as long as he or she meets the generally applicable registration requirements (i.e. he or she is 18 years or older, a U.S. citizen, has not been convicted of a felony of moral turpitude, is mentally competent, and lives in Alabama). However, Alabama does not have a law that explicitly addresses the ability of college students to vote in Alabama. [Ala. Const. art. VII, 177; Ala. Code ] Identification and Provisional Ballot: 1. I do not have any identification with me. Can I vote? Yes. However, if the voter does not have a valid form of photo identification, and he or she is not positively identified by two election officials, he or she may only vote a provisional ballot. [Ala. Code , as well as To vote a regular ballot, an Alabama voter must either present a valid form of photo identification or be positively identified by two election officials. Valid forms of photo identification include: Valid Alabama Driver s License; Valid Alabama Nondriver ID; Valid Alabama Photo Voter ID Card; Valid State Issued ID (Alabama or any other state); Valid Federal issued ID; Valid US passport; Valid Employee ID from Federal Government, State of Alabama, County, Municipality, Board or other entity of the state of Alabama; Valid student or employee ID from a public or private college or university in the State of Alabama (including postgraduate technical or professional schools); 3

4 Valid student or employee ID issued by a state institution of higher learning in any other state; Valid Military ID; and Valid Tribal ID. [Ala. Code , as well as If a voter casts a provisional ballot because they do not have a valid form of photo identification, he or she must submit the proper identification, as well as his or her address and telephone number, to the Board of Registrars by 5:00 p.m. on the Friday following the election. Only if the proper identification is submitted by this deadline will the voter s ballot be counted. [Ala. Code ] 2. Poll workers are turning voters away if they don t have a photo ID. If you are a hotline volunteer, flag your hotline captain and they will notify the county Judge of Probate or other election officials. As explained above, voters may cast a provisional ballot even if they do not have photo identification and are not positively identified by two election officials. [Ala. Code ] If you are a field volunteer at a polling place, try to talk with the appropriate election officials or poll workers and remind them of the proper ID requirements. As explained above, voters can cast a provisional ballot even if they do not have photo identification and are not positively identified by two election officials. If the poll workers continue to require photo ID and fail to offer provisional ballots, immediately notify your command center, and they will notify the Judge of Probate or other election officials. [Ala. Code ] 3. I am a registered voter who is not on the rolls at my precinct. Can I vote? If a voter s name does not appear on the list of registered voters for the polling place, the poll worker should contact the local Board of Registrars or Judge of Probate to determine if the voter is eligible to vote at that polling place. If the Board of Registrars or Judge of Probate is unable to verify the voter s registration, he or she may vote by provisional ballot. The provisional ballot will be counted only if the county Board of Registrars is able to confirm, after the election, that the voter is a duly qualified elector of the county. [Ala. Code ; Ala. Code ] 4. I have been offered a provisional ballot. What should I do? When should I cast a provisional ballot? Inquire why the voter was offered a provisional ballot. Was it for one of the following reasons: The voter s name is not on the list of eligible voters for the polling place in which he or she is seeking to vote, and his or her registration cannot be verified while at the polling place by the Registrar or the Judge of Probate; 4

5 An inspector has knowledge that the voter is not entitled to vote at the precinct at which he or she is attempting to vote, and challenges the voter; The voter does not have proper identification; A federal or state court order extends the time for closing the polls beyond that established by state law and the voter votes during the extended period of time; or The voter did not receive a requested absentee ballot or did not vote his or her absentee ballot. Other than for these reasons, the voter should be able to cast a regular ballot. A provisional ballot should be a last resort. However, if the voter needs to cast a provisional ballot, an inspector at the polling place should give him or her written information regarding how to check the status of his or her provisional ballot online. [Ala. Code ] If the voter casts a provisional ballot, remind them to ask the poll worker if any additional steps will be need to make sure the ballot is counted. 5. I recently changed my name. Can I still vote? Yes. If a qualified and registered voter changes his or her name, that voter can update his or her voter registration record by completing the Alabama Voter Registration Form, available at and mailing it to the local county Board of Registrars. Alternatively, the voter may update his or her voter registration in person at the county Board of Registrars. For a voter s change of name to be effective for the upcoming election, this form must be received by the Board of Registrars no later than 14 days prior to the election. [Ala. Code ] If the voter provides his or her new name to the Board of Registrars within the 14 days prior to the election, the voter s registration information will not be updated for the upcoming election. However, during this 14-day period the Board of Registrars can change voter registration information for subsequent elections. [Ala. Op. Atty. Gen. No ] If a voter does not meet the deadline for updating his or her registration to reflect a change of name, the voter may still vote using a provisional ballot after updating his or her registration information at the polling place on Election Day. [Ala. Code ; Alabama Voter Guide 2014] Where to Vote: 1. Where do I vote (for voters who have not moved recently)? The Board of Registrars sends to each voter a certificate of registration that includes the address of that voter s polling place. A voter who has not received this card prior to the election should contact the local Board of Registrars for information on his or her polling place. A voter can also verify where he or she votes on the Alabama Secretary of State s 5

6 website at https://myinfo.alabamavotes.gov/voterview/pollingplacesearch.do. For municipal elections, this information may be obtained from the City Clerk. 2. I have moved WITHIN THE SAME PRECINCT and have not updated my address for voter registration purposes. Where should I vote? At the polling place for the voter s new address. The voter can look up polling locations at https://myinfo.alabamavotes.gov/voterview/pollingplacesearch.do. When a registered voter moves within a precinct on or prior to the day of an election and has not filed a notice of change of residence with the Board of Registrars, he or she will be allowed to vote, but only after providing current information. Since the voter s name would still appear on the official list of eligible voters for that precinct, the voter should still be able to cast a regular ballot after updating the address on his or her registration record. The form to update registration information will be available at all polling places on Election Day. [Ala. Code ; Alabama Voter Guide 2014 at 3. I have moved TO A DIFFERENT PRECINCT (within the same county) and I have not updated my address for voter registration purposes. Where should I vote? At the polling place for the voter s new address. The voter can look up polling locations at https://myinfo.alabamavotes.gov/voterview/pollingplacesearch.do. When a registered voter moves to a different precinct within the same county such that his or her name does not appear on the list of registered voters for the new precinct on Election Day, he or she should be allowed to vote, but only after completing the form to update his or her registration information at the new polling place. However, unless the voter s registration can be verified by a Registrar or the Judge of Probate, the voter will have to cast a provisional ballot. [Ala. Code ] 4. I recently moved to a DIFFERENT COUNTY and I have not updated my address for voter registration purposes. Where should I vote? If a voter moves to another precinct in another county, he or she must register to vote in the new county no later than 14 days prior to the election. If the voter does not register by this deadline, he or she will not be eligible to vote in that election. Voter registration does not automatically follow a voter from one county to another. [Ala. Code ; Alabama Voter Guide 2014 at 5. Will a provisional ballot cast in the wrong precinct but correct polling place be counted? No. [Ala. Code ] Assistance at the Polls: 6

7 1. I am physically disabled and need assistance. Will my polling place be accessible? Yes. All polling places in Alabama should be accessible to people with disabilities. At every polling place there should be voting equipment to accommodate voters with disabilities, including non-visual accessibility for the blind and visually impaired, in order that they may vote without assistance. If a voter s specific disability is not accommodated, you should contact the county Judge of Probate. [Ala. Code ; Alabama Voter Guide 2014 at 2. I am blind, physically disabled or cannot read English and require assistance at the polls in order to vote. Can I get assistance at the polls? Yes. Any voter who wishes assistance in voting is entitled to have some person of his or her choice, other than the voter s employer, an agent of the employer, or an officer or agent of the voter s union, mark the voter s choices or assist the voter in marking his or her choices on the ballot. [Ala. Code ; Section 208 of Voting Rights Act] 3. I don t know how to use the voting equipment. Can I get help? Yes. The voter has the right to receive instruction on using the voting equipment before casting his or her vote, including information on how to correct a ballot before it is cast and counted. Although voting procedures will vary depending on the type of equipment used at the polling place, instructions on how to use the voting equipment printed in large type should be visible at each polling place. [Ala. Code ; Ala. Code ] Also, poll workers may provide information on voting procedures at a voter s request. However, poll workers are not allowed to tell a citizen for whom to vote or to attempt to influence a voter s choices in any way. The voter may remain in a voting privacy booth for four minutes and after this time may be asked by a poll worker if assistance is needed. If the voter does not want assistance, and there is a line of individuals waiting to vote, the voter will have one additional minute to vote and then may be asked to leave. If there is no line of individuals waiting to vote, the voter may take as much time as necessary to finish voting. If the voter receives assistance, the voter is entitled to an additional five minutes (at least) to vote. [Ala. Code , Alabama Voter Guide 2014 at Voter Intimidation and Deceptive Practices: 1. I have been approached/intimidated/harassed by candidates or others at the polls. Although electioneering or campaigning is permitted outside the polling place on Election Day, it is not permitted within 30 feet of the entrance of the polling place. If the polling place is located in a room within a building, the campaigning must not be closer than 30 7

8 feet to the entrance of the building. [Ala. Code ; Alabama Voter Guide 2014 at If a voter is approached by a candidate or any other person within 30 feet of the entrance of the polling place, the voter (or a volunteer present at the polling place) should report the incident to the sheriff or deputy sheriff who is responsible for preserving order at the polling places in the precinct. [Ala. Code ] If you are a hotline volunteer, advise the voter that if the sheriff or deputy sheriff fails to resolve the issue, they should notify this hotline again. If that happens, flag your hotline captain, who will contact the Secretary of State s office. If you are a field volunteer at the polling place and the sheriff or deputy sheriff fails to resolve the issue, call your command center, which will contact the Secretary of State s office. 2. What should I do if I am intimidated by police present at the polling place? If you are a hotline volunteer, find out if the police are stationed outside of the polling location and not interacting with voters or if the police officer is actively intimidating voters. Then flag your hotline captain, who should contact the local police to let them know that the police presence at the polling place is intimidating voters. The captain should also call the county Judge of Probate s office and ask them to follow up with local law enforcement. If you are a field volunteer at the polling place, call your command center and let them know about the issue. They should contact the local police to let them know that the police presence at the pollling place is intimidating voters and call the county Judge of Probate s office and ask them to follow up with local law enforcement. 3. What should I do if I see or receive deceptive information regarding an upcoming election? If you are a hotline volunteer, flag your hotline captain. The hotline captain should ask the caller to photograph or make copies of all documents and to fax a copy of the deceptive documents to or a photograph or scanned copy to and report the incident to the county Judge of Probate and local media contacts so that the correct information can be shared with voters. We will share the documents with the county Judge of Probate and relevant authorities. If you are a field volunteer and you see this first hand, document the deceptive information as well as possible take photographs of it or obtain a copy. Then call your command center. Miscellaneous: 8

9 1. What if I requested an absentee ballot but I want to vote in person on Election Day? Voters who requested an absentee ballot but never received one or received an absentee ballot but did not cast it may cast a provisional ballot on Election Day. [Ala. Code ] 2. What if I make a mistake or spoil my paper ballot while voting? Replacement ballots are available if you make a mistake in marking your ballot or if the ballot gets torn, mismarked, or otherwise damaged. You should take the original ballot to a poll worker and request a replacement ballot. The poll worker will issue a new ballot and place the original ballot in an envelope marked spoiled ballots for security purposes. [Ala. Code ] 9

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