Election Laws


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Section 17-11-10

Procedure upon receipt of ballot by absentee election manager; counting of ballots.

(a) Upon receipt of the absentee ballot, the absentee election manager shall record its receipt thereof on the absentee list as provided in Section 17-11-5 and shall safely keep the ballot without breaking the seal of the affidavit envelope.

(b) For absentee ballots received by noon on the day of the election, the absentee election manager shall, beginning at noon, deliver the sealed affidavit envelopes containing absentee ballots to the election officials provided for in Section 17-11-11. The election officials shall then call the name of each voter casting an absentee ballot with poll watchers present as may be provided under the laws of Alabama and shall examine each affidavit envelope to determine if the signature of the voter has been appropriately witnessed. If the witnessing of the signature and the information in the affidavit establish that the voter is entitled to vote by absentee ballot, then the election officials shall certify the findings, open each affidavit envelope, and deposit the plain envelope containing the absentee ballot into a sealed ballot box.

No poll worker or other election official shall open an affidavit envelope if the envelope indicates the ballot is an unverified provisional ballot or the affidavit printed thereon is unsigned by the voter or unmarked, and no ballot envelope or ballot therein may be removed or counted. No poll worker or other election official shall open an affidavit envelope if the voter's affidavit signature or mark is not witnessed by the signatures of two witnesses or a notary public, or other officer, including a military commissioned officer, authorized to acknowledge oaths, and no ballot envelope or ballot therein may be removed or counted. The provision for witnessing of the voter's affidavit signature or mark in Section 17-11-7 goes to the integrity and sanctity of the ballot and election. No court or other election tribunal shall allow the counting of an absentee ballot with respect to which the voter's affidavit signature or mark is not witnessed by the signatures of two witnesses 18 years of age or older or a notary public, or other officer, including a military commissioned officer, authorized to acknowledge oaths, prior to being delivered or mailed to the absentee election manager.

Upon closing of the polls, the absentee ballots shall be counted and otherwise handled in all respects as if the absentee voter were present and voting in person.

Precinct ballot counters may be used to count absentee ballots. Absentee election officials are to be appointed and trained in the same manner as prescribed for regular election officials. The number of absentee election officials shall be determined by the number of precinct counters provided. The county commission may provide more than one precinct ballot counter based upon the recommendation of the absentee election manager. Beginning not earlier than noon on election day, the absentee election officials shall perform the duties prescribed in Section 17-11-11.

As regards municipalities with populations of less than 10,000, in the case of municipal elections held at a time different from a primary or general election, the return mail envelopes containing the ballots shall be delivered to the election official of the precinct of the respective voters, unless the city or town having a population of less than 10,000 inhabitants has, by permanent ordinance adopted six months prior to the municipal election, established a procedure for the appointment of absentee election officials pursuant to subsection (c) of Section 11-46-27.

(c) Absentee ballots cast in a second primary election for federal, state, or county office by individuals voting pursuant to the federal Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, 42 U.S.C. 1973ff et seq., and received after noon on the day of the second primary election, shall be opened and counted at the same time as the verified provisional ballots. At noon seven days after the second primary election, the absentee election manager shall deliver the sealed affidavit envelopes containing absentee ballots to the officials provided for in subsection (f) of Section 17-10-2. The officials shall call the name of each voter casting an absentee ballot in the presence of watchers designated by any interested candidates and shall examine each affidavit envelope to determine if the signature of the voter has been appropriately witnessed. If the witnessing of the signature and the information in the affidavit establish that the voter is entitled to vote by absentee ballot, then the election officials shall certify the findings, open each affidavit envelope, and deposit the plain envelope containing the absentee ballot into a sealed ballot box.

No election official shall open an affidavit envelope if the affidavit printed thereon is unsigned by the voter or unmarked, and no ballot envelope or ballot therein may be removed or counted. No election official shall open an affidavit envelope if the voter's affidavit signature or mark is not witnessed by the signatures of two witnesses or a notary public, or other officer, including a military commissioned officer, authorized to acknowledge oaths, and no ballot envelope or ballot therein may be removed or counted. The provision for witnessing of the voter's affidavit signature or mark in Section 17-11-7 goes to the integrity and sanctity of the ballot and election. No court or other election tribunal shall allow the counting of an absentee ballot with respect to which the voter's affidavit signature or mark is not witnessed by the signatures of two witnesses 18 years of age or older or a notary public, or other officer, including a military commissioned officer, authorized to acknowledge oaths, prior to being delivered or mailed to the absentee election manager.

The absentee ballots described in this subsection shall be opened, counted, and tabulated. The results of the absentee ballots counted and tabulated on election day shall be amended to include the results of the absentee ballots described in this subsection.

In all other respects, unless otherwise specifically provided by law, the absentee ballots described in this subsection shall be treated as other absentee ballots.

(Acts 1975, No. 1147, p. 2251, §8; Acts 1978, No. 616, p. 873, §5; Acts 1980, No. 80-732, p. 1478, §6; Acts 1996, 2nd Ex. Sess., No. 96-885, p. 1699, §6; Act 2003-313, p. 733, §2; Act 2003-400, p. 1150, §1; Act 2006-354, p. 937, §1; §17-10-10; amended and renumbered by Act 2006-570, p. 1331, §52.)
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