Auburn residents have about 70 days left to apply for an absentee ballot for the General Election in November, amid concerns that policy changes at the Postal Service instituted by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy would impact the delivery of absentee and mail-in ballots.
Those concerns were lessened somewhat on Tuesday when DeJoy announced that the changes would be suspended until after the 2020 election. Some of the changes included elimination of overtime, the removal of postal boxes and a reduction in hours of operation. DeJoy's reversal of the changes came as both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate summoned him to answer questions.
"Due to recently witnessed delays with the United States Postal Service, Secretary (John) Merrill encourages voters interested in returning their ballot by mail to go ahead and make application for their absentee ballot," said a release by Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill's office.
Residents who want to vote by absentee ballot must submit their application by Oct. 29. The Lee County Absentee Voting Office is located at 215 S. 9th St. in Opelika.
Absentee ballots can also be downloaded online at www.sos.alabama.gov/alabama-votes/voter/absentee-voting, by calling the Lee County office at 334-737-3490 or by calling the Secretary of State's office at 334-242-7210.
The Lee County Absentee Voting Office will begin processing applications after Sept. 9.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the risks associated with gathering inside indoor spaces in large groups, absentee ballot qualifications have been eased.
"Due to the declared states of emergency, any qualified voter who determines it is impossible or unreasonable to vote at their polling place shall be eligible to check the box on the absentee ballot application that is most applicable to that individual," stated a press release from Merrill's office. "In case none of the boxes are appropriate, voters can check the box which reads as follows:
"I have a physical illness or infirmity which prevents my attendance at the polls. [ID REQUIRED]."
The deadline to return an absentee ballot in person to the election manager is the close of the business day on Nov. 2. The last day to postmark an absentee ballot is also Nov. 2.
Residents who wish to register to vote must do so by the Oct. 19 deadline. Residents can register to vote online at www.sos.alabama.gov/alabama-votes.