Absentee voting dates setPublished 10:33pm Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Voters who will not be in town for the March 13 primary election should begin thinking about casting an absentee ballot.
According to Dallas County Circuit Clerk and Absentee Election Manager Cheryl Strong Ratcliff, people often wait until the last minute to apply for an absentee ballot. Unfortunately, this usually means that person’s vote will not count.
Ratcliff said applications for absentee ballots must be filed in the office of the Absentee Election Manager/Circuit Clerk not less than five days prior to the election.
The deadline to apply for the primary is Thursday, March 8 by 4:30 pm. The deadline to apply for Medical and Business emergencies is no later than the close of business on Monday, March 12.
Everyone registered to vote can file an absentee ballot, Ratcliff said.
“Any qualified elector of this state may vote an absentee ballot, provided they meet the requirements,” she said. “(The application) is available in the office of the Absentee Election Manager/Circuit Clerk, located at the Dallas County Courthouse, 105 Lauderdale St., Room 204, and for download at www.sos.state.al.us.”
After completing and signing the application, Ratcliff said the voter may hand the application to the Absentee Election Manager/Circuit Clerk or forward it by U.S. Mail.
No one is allowed to bring in an application for another person unless they are a designee for a medical emergency. By law, the Absentee Election Manager/Circuit Clerk can only accept one application per envelope that is received by U.S. mail.
The application must provide the Alabama residence address where the voter is registered to vote, even if the ballot is to be mailed to another address where the applicant/voter regularly receives mail.
If the voter has moved since he or she registered to vote, they must contact the Dallas County Board of Registrars to update the address no later than March 2.
Ratcliff also said no one can receive or return a ballot for any other person unless they are a designee for a medical emergency. In this case, she said instructions must be followed carefully to ensure the ballot is counted.
A copy of identification must accompany the ballot and ballots must be returned by the voter in person to the Absentee Election Manager/Circuit Clerk’s office no later than 4:30 pm on Monday, March 12, or, if mailed, must be postmarked no later than one day prior to the election and received in the mail no later than noon on March 13.
Business emergency ballots must be voted in the office in person and handed to the Absentee Election Manager/Circuit Clerk no later than close of business on March 12 Medical emergency ballots must be returned no later than noon on Election Day.
Ratcliff said any person desiring to vote absentee may come by the Circuit Clerk’s office, Dallas County Courthouse, 105 Lauderdale St., Room 204, from 8:30 to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information, call 874-2525 or go online to www.sos.state.al.us