Alabama using federal funds to keep polling sites clean and workers safe for Nov. 3 election

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Conducting a presidential election amid a pandemic poses obvious challenges, but Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said his office is working with election officials across Alabama to help ensure they are ready for Nov. 3

Merrill said Congress has provided Alabama money through the CARES Act for cleaning polling places and providing protective equipment for poll workers.

“We spent $2.2 million of those dollars in the July 14th runoff,” he said. “We have remaining more than $5.5 million to ensure that we have a successful administration of the November 3rd general election.”

Speculation is growing that the U.S. won’t know the results of the election on election night, but Alabama will have its votes counted, Merrill said.

“We will know the winners of the presidential race, U.S. Senate race, the congressional races, other statewide races and local races,” he said. “All unofficial results will be reported on November the 3rd.”

Alabama is allowing residents who are concerned about COVID-19 to vote absentee, but there won’t be drop-off boxes for ballots. The absentee ballot application process includes providing a copy of an ID.

“After the voter has completed their ballot, they will return it to the absentee election manager and that ballot will be opened on election day and counted on election day,” Merrill said. “There are no provisions in state law for an absentee ballot to be returned in any way other than in person to the absentee election manager or through the U.S. mail or through another approved carrier like UPS, FedEx, DHL, or other carriers.”

A person voting absentee in Alabama also requires two people sign an affidavit, asserting the voter has the right to cast the absentee ballot, or have it notarized.

Alabama has 3.6 million registered voters

The State of Alabama is recommending local elections offices have reserve poll workers, as election day draws closer. Anyone interested in becoming a poll worker can apply on the Secretary of State’s website.

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