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Elmore County, State See Surge in Absentee Votes

Special to Elmore Autauga News

Elmore County Circuit Clerk Michael Dozier said, “Everything is looking good for the July 14 runoff election and I do not envision any problems. However it has been a very busy time around here.”

Dozier is referring to the absentee ballot activity, which has about doubled over the absentee ballot activity in the primary election. Thus far Elmore County has received approximately 400 absentee ballots, a sizeable increase over other election cycles. According to Dozier, there have been about 650 absentee ballot requests as of Thursday afternoon.         

The requests for absentee ballots vary but there is no doubt the coronavirus concern has increased the requests. “It’s hard to put an exact figure on it, but my best guess is that health concerns are about half of the requests,” Dozier explained.

Dozier chuckled when he recalled that the county only had nine (9) absentee ballots in the last special election.

Elmore County has between 56,000 and 60,000 registered voters according to Dozier. The State of Alabama has approximately 3.6 million registered voters. According to the Alabama Secretary of State (SOS) there have been 38,285 absentee ballot requests as of Wednesday afternoon with 19,386 absentee ballots actually returned.

Both Elmore County and the State have absentee ballot requests for about 1% of their respective voters registration.

In the March 3 primary, a total of 18,729 absentee ballots were cast. By comparison, in the 2017 special GOP primary runoff for U.S. Senate, 5,601 people voted absentee, according to the SOS.

Originally scheduled for March 31, Governor Kay Ivey delayed the runoff election until July 14 for safety reasons as the state was beginning to deal with the coronavirus. Overall voter turnout on July 14 is expected to be 17-22% of registered voters in the State according to the SOS.

An absentee ballot returned by mail must be postmarked no later than the day prior to the election (July 13) and received by the absentee election manager no later than noon on Election Day (July 14).

Last week the U.S. Supreme Court blocked a lower court ruling allowing curbside voting in Alabama and waiving some absentee ballot requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic.