When voting absentee in the state of Alabama, you have to provide a copy of your photo ID with the absentee application, but you don’t have to send a a copy of a photo ID when you submit your ballot.
After misinformation spread on social media, a Huntsville woman contacted Alabama’s Secretary of State John Merrill for clarification.
Leslie Crow says it’s her first time voting absentee and she wanted to make sure she carefully followed directions from start to finish.
She was confident she followed directions, until a post on social media.
“The Madison County Democrats Facebook Page that said, ‘Hey, don’t forget when you submit your absentee ballot you have to include a copy of your photo ID,'” explained Crow.
But Crow recalled thats not what the instructions said that came with her ballot. So she followed a link posted in the group to the Alabama Voter Guide.
“Sure enough, it said three times you have to include a copy of your photo ID with your ballot in the outer mailing envelope. So at that point, I was a little upset because that wasn’t in the instructions sent to me, but here it is in the 2020 voter guide.”
Crow was concerned her vote wouldn’t be counted so she reached out for clarification.
“Apparently, the instructions I was sent were correct and you don’t have to include a copy of your ID with the ballot.”
We reached out to Merrill’s office about the two different versions of the 2020 voter guide. They say it is an old link being shared and the version on the Secretary of State website is correct.
“But there’s just unnessary confusion. If he had just said right from the beginning or he had something on his website that said hey the requirements have changed, you used to have to do this in 20-19 but you don’t any more.”
Merrill’s office says a law passed in the 2019 legislative session dropped the requirement to submit a photo ID with an absentee ballot; you only need it to apply for one — this was in effect for primary and run off elections this year.
What about voters whose polling place is inaccessible due to age or disability? The Secretary of State’s office has addressed voters who are elderly or who have a disability with an exception to the absentee ballot ID requirement when the voter’s polling place is not accessible.
A voter who is entitled to vote by absentee ballot pursuant to the Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act or any other federal law shall not be required to produce identification when voting by absentee ballot.
Voters who fall within this category will be able to check a box on their absentee ballot application, which states that their polling place is not accessible and that they fall under the definition of elderly (age 65 or older) or handicapped. The absentee election manager will not require an ID in order for these ballots to be counted.