Useful laws to know when going to vote

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – There are plenty of laws governing Alabama elections, as you might imagine, and most are pretty straightforward.

For instance, it’s a crime to buy or sell a vote.

You have to have your photo ID.

You can’t vote at the wrong precinct. For Alabama residents, the direct route to confirm your polling place is through the Secretary of State’s office:

The Madison County Probate Court oversees the election. If you encounter voting problems, feel harassed or want to report an irregularity, call the probate court at (256) 532-3330. Election officials said they have plenty of lines set up so you should be able to get through.

No one can campaign inside of 30 feet of a polling place.

Only one poll watcher per political party is allowed inside a polling place.

Poll watchers are not allowed to have contact with voters.

Guns are not banned in most polling places in Alabama. The exceptions are polling places on private property that ban firearms on their property.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and as long as you are in line by 7 p.m., they must allow your vote.

Alabama Sheriff’s offices have a duty to preserve order at elections.

It is a Class A misdemeanor, which means up to a year in jail, for a “person to obstruct, intimidate, threaten, or coerce any other person for the purpose of interfering with the right of such other person to vote or to vote as he or she may choose, or for the purpose of causing such other person to vote for, or not to vote for, any candidate for state or local office or any other proposition at any election.”

The law also bars people from “loitering” at a polling place for the purpose of trying to discourage people from voting. It is also against the law to rejoin a line of voters after you’ve voted.

Employers are also barred from telling employees how to vote or from directing employees to examine another employee’s ballot.

Poll watchers are also barred from wearing any campaign materials.  However, it’s okay for voters to wear shirts and hats.

To reach the Madison County Probate Court, which oversees the elections here,  you can email them about voting problems or related issues:

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