Election Laws


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Section 17-11-3

Absentee balloting generally.

(a) Any qualified elector of this state may apply for and vote an absentee ballot by mail or by hand delivery, as provided in Sections 17-11-5 and 17-11-9, in any primary, general, special, or municipal election, if he or she makes application in writing therefor not less than five days prior to the election in which he or she desires to vote and meets one of the following requirements:

(1) The person will be out of the county or the state, or the municipality for municipal elections, on election day.

(2) The person has any physical illness or infirmity which prevents his or her attendance at the polls, whether he or she is within or without the county on the day of the election.

(3) The person works on a shift which has at least 10 hours which coincide with the hours the polls are open at his or her regular polling place.

(4) The person is enrolled as a student at an educational institution located outside the county of his or her personal residence attendance at which prevents his or her attendance at the polls.

(5) The person is a member of, or spouse or dependent of a member of, the Armed Forces of the United States or is similarly qualified to vote absentee pursuant to the federal Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, 42 U.S.C. 1973ff.

(6) The person has been appointed as an election officer or named as a poll watcher at a polling place other than his or her regular polling place.

(b) An applicant for an absentee ballot who is a member of the Armed Forces of the United States, including the Alabama National Guard, the United States Naval Reserves, the United States Air Force Reserves, and the United States Army Reserve on active duty or active duty for training or an applicant who is the spouse of any member of the armed forces or any other applicant qualified to vote absentee pursuant to the federal Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, 42 U.S.C. 1973ff, may make application for an absentee ballot by filling out the federal postcard application form, authorized and provided for under the provisions of "The Federal Voting Assistance Act of 1955," Public Law 296, Chapter 656, H.R. 4048, approved August 9, 1955, 84th Congress 1st Session.

(c) Any registered elector who requires emergency treatment of a licensed physician within five days of an election may apply for an emergency absentee ballot for the election and may vote by returning the absentee ballot no later than noon on the day the election is held. The attendant physician shall describe and certify the circumstances as constituting an emergency on a special form designed by the Secretary of State and provided by his or her office to local absentee election managers. The special form shall be attached to the application.

(d) Any registered elector whose name appears on the poll list of qualified voters may vote by an emergency absentee ballot if he or she is required by his or her employer under unforeseen circumstances to be out of the county on an emergency business trip on election day. Under such circumstances, the applicant shall apply for an emergency absentee ballot at the office of the absentee election manager no later than the close of the business day one day prior to the election. The applicant shall complete and file an application form designed by the Secretary of State for emergency absentee voters. The form shall contain an affidavit which the applicant shall sign or swear acknowledging that he or she was not aware of the out-of-county business requirement prior to five days before the election. An applicant who meets the requirements of this subsection may vote by an emergency absentee ballot. After voting the ballot, the voter shall hand the ballot to the absentee election manager.

(e) If the occurrence of a state of emergency as declared in this or any other state, or by the federal government, renders substantial compliance with this article impossible or unreasonable for a group of qualified voters who respond to the emergency, the Secretary of State, pursuant to Section 41-22-5, may promulgate an emergency rule to allow those qualified voters to vote by absentee ballot. Notwithstanding any other laws to the contrary, all expenses and costs incurred by the state or any county in carrying out the responsibilities and duties included in an emergency rule promulgated pursuant to this subsection shall be paid by the State of Alabama from any funds made available for election expenses under state and federal law.

(f) Notwithstanding any other provision of otherwise applicable law, in the event more than one absentee ballot is cast in the name of the single voter, whether any such multiple ballot is cast by mail or otherwise, none of the affidavit envelopes containing the multiple ballots shall be opened, and none of the multiple ballots shall be counted, except in the event of an election contest, upon the order of the election contest tribunal. Upon the conclusion of an election contest or, in the event no such contest is filed, upon the expiration of time for filing such a contest, the multiple ballots shall be provided to the district attorney, with photocopies provided to the state Attorney General, for such investigation, prosecution, or other action as may be appropriate under applicable law.

(Acts 1975, No. 1147, p. 2251, §1; Acts 1986, No. 86-428, p. 791, §1; Acts 1994, No. 94-320, p. 553, §1; Acts 1996, 2nd Ex. Sess., No. 96-885, p. 1699, §1; Act 99-388, p. 615, §1; Act 2001-1097, 4th Sp. Sess., p. 1147, §1; §17-10-3; amended and renumbered by Act 2006-570, p. 1331, §52; Act 2013-202, p. 419, §1.)
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