MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed two bills today regarding voting in the state of Alabama.
House Bill 285 bans curbside voting and requires ballots to be completed inside precincts, while House Bill 314 updates the state’s process in change-of-address for voters.
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said the two bills signed into law by Governor Kay Ivey on Wednesday regarding voting will help ensure the state has safe and fair elections.
“We’re very very excited to have this become law,” said Secretary of State John Merrill.
House Bill 285 – which formally bans the practice of curbside voting for future elections, requires ballots to be completed inside precincts.
“This is the best way to make sure that we have safe secure in fair elections and we’re going to continue to have that in Alabama,” said Merrill.
Merrill said by keeping the ballot in the hands of the voter ensures votes are counted independently from any poll worker or third party.
“We don’t want another party taking possession of the ballot, we don’t want a ballot being soiled by being exposed to the elements,” said Merrill.
The Southern Poverty Law Center said it’s disappointed in the ban.
“We wish that legislators and the Secretary of State would’ve listened to disability rights advocates when they said that curbside voting is a safe accessible way for voters with disabilities to access their fundamental right to vote,” said Southern Poverty Law Center Senior Supervising Attorney, Caren Short.
HB314 changes the process for updating the statewide voter registration list.
“When people move they think about contacting the post office to make sure that your bills record to make sure that their personal mail is for they don’t think about contacting the order to make sure that your voting location has been updated,” said Merrill.
The SPLC said it worked with the Secretary of State’s office on this new plan and believes it will be an improvement.
“It relies on more reliable sources of information to determine when someone may have moved as opposed to the current process was just simply since every registered voter a postcard which is not a reliable method for cleaning up the voter rolls,” said Short.
The SPLC said there are voting precincts that are not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“Without no excuse absentee voting or early in-person voting and now with curbside voting banned entirely, Alabamians with disabilities continue to be in danger of showing up on election day unable to access their fundamental right to vote. Shame on Governor Ivey and Alabama’s legislators who passed this into law,” said Short.
Merrill handicap-accessible voting machines will still be available at all polling places and absentee offices. All polling places in the state are required to be Americans with Disabilities Act compliant.
Voters with qualifying disabilities may also apply for an absentee ballot.