Alabama Secretary of State criticized over early voting policy

HUNTSVILLE, Ala.- The midterm elections are two weeks away. This week, Madison County GOP leaders invited neighbors out to meet some of the candidates.
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill says they're hoping for 35 to 40-percent voter turnout.

Right now, over 300,000 people are listed as inactive on the voter rolls, and if you happen to be one of them, you'll still be able to vote on November 6th.

There were confident campaigners and hungry voters in Huntsville on Tuesday evening. Two weeks until Election Day in the Yellowhammer state. This was a chance for state and local GOP candidates to fire up voters.

"There's been no time in the history of the state where it's been more accessible, as available and as convenient for people to be registered," Merrill said.

"It's very simple," William Snell said. "You can register online. Compared to the old days of going to the courthouse the register."

The deadline to register has now passed. Hundreds of thousands of people have already cast early ballots in Georgia, Tennessee and Florida. Alabama is one of 16 states that doesn't allow 'no excuse early voting'.

"In every state that's had early voting, the costs have increased and the participation has never increased," Merrill said. "So, I don't see investing the money the benefit the few people that offers more of a convenience for."

Merrill was criticized on social media for the state's absentee voting policy. He says there are about 3.4 million people signed to vote in the midterms. But over 300 thousand people may show up and see they've been marked as 'inactive'.

"All they have to do is fill out a voter update form, and when they do, they'll be able to cast a regular ballot on site that day," Merrill said.

Alabama saw around 28-percent voter turnout for last year's Doug Jones/Roy Moore special election. Merrill says next month's midterms may not be as high.

If you're already registered to vote, but need a photo ID, you can fill out this form from the Secretary of State's office. You'll need to bring proof of your full name, birthday and address. You can take it to your local board of registrars. In Huntsville, it's on Cook Avenue off the Parkway.

Merrill says Alabama has issued close to 19,000 of the IDs so far.