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Alabama Dems call for postponing March 31 runoff

The Alabama Democratic Party Thursday afternoon joined with Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill in calling for the state to consider postponing the runoff election slated for March 31 in light of the growing coronavirus outbreak in Alabama.

“It is a prudent course of action in this one specific circumstance,” the party’s statement read, apparently referencing its usual animosity toward Merrill and his office. “Protecting the health and safety of voters, poll workers, and election officials should not be a partisan issue—nor should common sense, fundamental election reforms that make voting easier and our electoral system more modern and resilient.”

In the statement, the party called on Merrill, as well as the Alabama Republican Party and all Republican elected officials, to join them in “putting partisanship aside” in order to achieve the following goals ahead of the general election scheduled for November:

• Pass “no excuse” absentee ballot legislation, making it the law of the land “rather than a one-time exception, including making voting by mail available to all Alabamians;

• Pass legislation to allow in-person voting two weeks before an election in every county;

• Convene a bipartisan commission to explore other ways to modernize state elections, increase voter participation, make elections more secure and make civic institutions “more resilient to disruption, regardless of the cause or crisis.”

“These are not impossible reforms, nor are they rocket science,” the statement read. “Voting should be easy. The vast
majority of other states have taken these common sense steps to ensure the resilience of their civic institutions. It’s past time for Alabama, the cradle of voting rights, to do the same.”