MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — A handful of groups in the state say information disparities on county websites leave some voters in the dark — pointing out six counties whose websites lack a precinct map, precinct list and county poll locator tool.
In an effort to fix this issue, the groups, including ACLU Alabama, Alabama Arise and Legal Defense Fund among others, sent a letter to Secretary of State John Merrill, asking his office to publish a “comprehensive list of polling locations statewide.”
“Only Secretary of State Merrill can bring to bear the power of his office to compel counties to make better use of the information and to make it more widely available,” ACLU Legal Director LaTisha Gotell Faulks said.
Faulks says a uniform list of voting locations would help voters, who could show up to a precinct that’s closed or changed locations. She says voters might not take the extra step to figure out where they are supposed to vote when that happens.
“More likely, you’re going to go home. ‘It wasn’t that big a deal. I was coming out because it was convenient,'” Faulks said.
Secretary of State Merrill says the information is easy to find and counties are fulfilling their legal obligation of informing voters by printing that information in their newspapers.
“That’s happened in all 67 counties in the state of Alabama. When that’s being done, the qualification standards for introducing that information to the electorate has been accomplished,” Merrill said.
Voters can find their polling place here or by downloading the Vote for Alabama mobile app.
Merrill says they can also call their local Board of Registrars, his office or even himself to find their precinct.
“Why they would issue the letter eight days before the election would only be to cause a disruption,” Merrill said.
WHNT’s sister station, CBS42, reached out to the six counties listed in the letter as lacking a precinct map, precinct list and county poll locator tool on their websites: Dallas, Etowah, Greene, Macon, Marengo and Sumter.
Greene County’s Probate Judge said the county doesn’t currently have a website, but it is being developed.
Marengo County’s Probate Judge Laurie Hall said in a statement that the letter was a misinterpretation of the law and that her county’s website includes links to all of that information. Voters can also go to the courthouse for the precinct map.
“Our office is continually working to add services to benefit the citizens of Marengo County that exceed the legal requirements,” Hall said. “I am proud to say that Marengo County voter turnouts have historically been higher than the state average.”
The other four counties did not respond to CBS 42’s requests for comment.