Etowah
Absentee
Voting

Cassandra C. Johnson
Absentee Election Manager
Absentee Election Office
801 Forrest Ave Suite 202
Gadsden, AL 35901
(256) 549-5355
Email Address: cassandra.johnson@alacourt.gov

NOVEMBER 3, 2020
GENERAL ELECTION
(GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS)

Dear Absentee Voter:

On behalf of our Absentee Election Office, we want to thank you for taking the time to make your vote count in this upcoming election. Pursuant to Title 17-11-3, Code of Alabama, Application for an absentee ballot must be received in the office of the Absentee Election Manager/Circuit Clerk not less than five (5) days prior to the Election. The deadline to apply is Thursday, October 29, 2020 by 5:00 p.m. You are permitted to apply and vote absentee in person at the Absentee Election Office OR you may vote by mail. All applications must include a reason for absentee voting and the address where the voter is currently registered to vote.

COVID-19 RESPONSE: Pursuant to Emergency Rule 820-2-3-.06-.04ER issued on July 17, 2020 by the Alabama Secretary of State, and due to the State of Emergency issued by the Governor of Alabama on March 13, 2020, as amended, any qualifier voter who determines it is impossible or unreasonable to vote at their voting place for the General Election on November 3, 2020 due to the declared states of emergency, shall be eligible to check the box on the absentee ballot application which reads as follows.

“I have a physical illness or infirmity which prevents my attendance at the polls. (ID REQUIRED)"

Applications can only be accepted in person by the actual voter or by U.S. Mail or commercial carrier. By law, only one application per envelope is acceptable, even if multiple voters live at the same address. The only exception is for a Medical Emergency ballot. Your application must provide the Alabama residence address where the voter is registered to vote, even if the absentee ballot is to be mailed to a different address. Applications must be signed by the actual voter and witnessed only if the voter signs by a “mark”. Upon completing and signing your application, you must attach a copy of a valid photo ID or Voter ID to the application. The voter also has the option to hand deliver his/her application to the Absentee Election Manager/Circuit Clerk or forward it by U.S. Mail to the Absentee Election Office. (see note below)

Note: Under Act 2019-507, an absentee ballot application must be accompanied by a copy of current, valid photo identification, unless the voter is exempt from the identification requirement. Failing to provide the identification will result in your ballot becoming a provisional ballot.

If you have experienced a recent name or address change and have not updated your voter information with the Board of Registrars office, please update your voter information before mailing your application for an Absentee ballot. If you do not know your voting precinct, you may contact the Board of Registrars office at (256) 549-5384 for assistance. The last day to register or update your voter registration with the Board of Registrars located in the Etowah County Courthouse is

Monday, October 19th, 2020. Updating your voter registration information is also available by visiting the Secretary of State website: www.alabamavotes.gov.

Medical and Business Emergency applications are available, if you qualify on Friday, October 30th, 2020 and Monday, November 2nd, 2020. Business Emergency ballots must be voted in person at the Absentee Election Office. An affidavit is required to be signed by the voter stating that you were not aware of the business emergency until after the October 29th, 2020 application deadline. Medical Emergency ballots are for a registered voter that requires emergency treatment of a licensed physician within 5 days prior to the election (upon application, the physician shall sign a special form describing and certifying the circumstances that constitute an emergency). The Absentee ballot must be returned to the Absentee Election Manager no later than noon on Election Day by the voters Designee.

When you receive your Absentee ballot by mail, it is very important that you follow the instructions carefully and return your Absentee ballot to the Absentee Election Manager as soon as possible. No one is permitted to receive or return an Absentee Ballot for any other voter. (The only exception is a Medical Emergency ballot).

The deadline to hand deliver your ballot to the Absentee Election Manager is no later than Monday, November 2nd , 2020 at 5:00 p.m. Ballots that are mailed by U.S. mail or commercial carrier must be postmarked no later than one day prior to the election and received by the Absentee Election Manager no later than NOON on (Election Day). If you have any questions concerning absentee voting, you may contact Cassandra Johnson, Circuit Clerk/Absentee Election Manager at (256) 549-5355.

All applications for an Absentee Ballot and the Absentee Ballot shall be mailed to the following address or you may visit the Absentee Election Office.

Cassandra Johnson, Absentee Election Manager/Circuit Clerk
Absentee Elections
801 Forrest Avenue - Suite 202
Gadsden, AL 35901

Respectfully,

Cassandra ‘Sam” Johnson – Circuit Clerk
Absentee Elections Manager

Note: For additional voter information on registering to vote online or updating your voter information, you may visit the Secretary of State, Elections Division website at www.alabamavotes.gov. You may also visit the Etowah County Circuit Clerk website at https://etowah.alacourt.gov. Applications for Absentee ballots are available at either website.

Absentee Election Office hours of operation: Monday thru Friday (except holidays) 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

  1. When does absentee voting start?
  2. What are the qualifications for obtaining an absentee ballot?
  3. How do I apply for an absentee ballot?
  4. Where do I mail the application?
  5. Can I vote absentee in person?
  6. If I am voting absentee by mail, when do I send in the copy of my ID?
  7. How do I find out where my voting precinct is?
  8. Does my absentee ballot have to be witnessed or notarized?
  9. I have power of attorney for a relative, can I vote for him/her?
  10. I have moved since the last election, how will this affect my ability to vote absentee?
  11. Do I have to file a new application for every election?
  12. What if I find out after the Thursday afternoon deadline that I have to go out of county for employment reasons?
  13. Am I required to declare a particular party to vote?
  14. I have a relative serving in the military, how can they vote absentee?
  15. Emergency Absentee Voting

When does absentee voting start?

The Probate Judge is required by law to provide ballots and supplies to the Absentee Election Manager 55 days before an election. Applications are now being accepted for absentee ballots for the upcoming General Election.

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What are the qualifications for obtaining an absentee ballot?

There are no provisions in Alabama law for early voting. You may vote absentee if you meet one of the following criteria and can make sworn affidavit as to one of the reasons stated below:

QUALIFICATIONS FOR A TRADITIONAL ABSENTEE BALLOT §17-10-3, Code of Alabama

  • The voter will be out of the county or state on Election Day.
  • The voter is physically incapacitated and will not be able to vote in person on Election Day.
  • The voter works a shift which has at least (10) hours that coincide with the polling hours at their regular polling place.
  • The voter is a student at and educational institution located outside the county of their permanent residence; and are, therefore, unable to vote at their usual polling place on Election Day.
  • The voter is a member of, or the spouse of a member of, the armed forces of the United States or are otherwise entitled to vote by absentee pursuant the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, 42, U.S.C. 1973ff.
  • The voter has been appointed as an election officer at a polling place which is not their regular polling place.
  • The voter is a caregiver for a family member to the second degree of kinship by affinity or consanguinity and the family member is confined to his or her home. 
  • The voter is currently incarcerated in prison or jail and has not been convicted of a felony involving moral turpitude. 

Emergency Rule 820-2-3.06-.04 ER: Absentee Voting during State of Emergency - General Election 2020.

  1. Pursuant to 17-11-3(e) of the Code of Alabama, and without limitation, due to the State of Emergency issued by the Governor of Alabama on March 13, 2020, as amended, any qualified voter who determines it is impossible or unreasonable to vote at their voting place for the General Election on November 3, 2020 due to the declared states of emergency, shall be eligible to check the box on the absentee ballot application which reads as follows:
    "I have a physical illness or infirmity which prevents my attendance at the polls. [ID REQUIRED]"
  2. Any qualified voter of this state who applies and successfully submits an application, with proper identification, for an absentee ballot pursuant to this Emergency Administrative Rule shall be eligible to vote an absentee ballot for the General Election on November 3, 2020.

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How do I apply for an absentee ballot?

You can call the Absentee Election Office at (256) 549-5355 or come by and pick up an application at the office of the Etowah County Circuit Clerk located in the Etowah County Judicial Building, downtown Gadsden. The address is 801 Forrest Ave. Suite 202 Gadsden, AL 35901 You can also download the application form at AlabamaVotes.gov or www.sos.state.al.us/Elections/AbsenteeVotingInfo.aspx. PLEASE READ INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY BEFORE FILLING IT OUT AND MAILING IN YOUR APPLICATION.

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Where do I mail the application?

The application must be mailed to: Cassandra Johnson, Absentee Election Manager, 801 Forrest Ave. Suite 202 Gadsden, AL 35901. By law (AG Opinion 82-551), each application must be mailed in a separate envelope. Multiple applications (even for husband and wife) which are mailed in the same envelope will be returned to the voter. After you complete your application, you will need to attach a copy of a valid photo ID (Ex:  Alabama Driver's License) or a valid photo Voter ID or a valid U.S. Passport.  For additional information on photo voter identification, visit www.AlabamaVoterID.com.  Applications cannot be faxed or e-mailed to the Absentee Election Manager. For voter registration forms and absentee applications visit: AlabamaVotes.gov.

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Can I vote absentee in person?

Yes, you can come by the Absentee Election Manager's office located in the Circuit Clerk's Office, Monday through Friday 8:00AM - 5:00PM (except on holidays), complete an application and vote while you are in the office. The cut-off date is Thursday (five days before an election). The physical address is 801 Forrest Ave. Suite 202 Gadsden, AL 35901.

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If I am voting absentee by mail, when do I send in the copy of my ID?

When mailing in your application for absentee ballot, attach a copy of a valid photo ID.

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How do I find out where my voting precinct is?

You can contact the Etowah County Board of Registrars' Office at (256) 549-5342 for information on your voting precinct.

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Does my absentee ballot have to be witnessed or notarized?

Yes, by law, your ballot must either be notarized OR witnessed by two people (18 years of age or older). You may use your family members as witnesses. If your ballot has not been notarized or witnessed by 2 people, it will not be counted.

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I have power-of-attorney for a relative, can I vote for him/her?

No, the law does not allow a person to vote for someone else (AG Opinion 84-359).

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I have moved since the last election, how will this affect my ability to vote absentee?

You will need to quickly get in touch with the Board of Registrars at 256-549-5342 and update your address. If your application address is different from the residence address on file with the Board of Registrars, you will have to vote a Provisional Ballot.

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Do I have to file a new application for every election?

The law states that any elections which are more than 42 days apart must have a new application submitted (except military absentee applications).

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What if I find out after the Thursday afternoon deadline that I have to go out of the county for employment reasons?

The law provides for a voter to vote business emergency if you find out after the Thursday deadline (five days before the election) that you are required to go out of the county or state for business reasons. You will need to visit the Absentee Election Manager's Office and vote in person on Thursday, Friday or Monday before the Tuesday election (unless either of these two days is a federal/state holiday).

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Must I declare a particular party to vote?

To vote in a Primary Election, you must designate the party which you wish to receive a ballot for.   In a Run-off Election, you are required to vote the same designated party as the primary election.   In the November General Election, you can vote for candidates from any of the parties listed on the ballot.

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I have a relative serving in the military, how can they vote absentee?

Alabama citizens who are members of the Armed Forces of the United States, a spouse or a dependent of a member of the Armed Forces of the United States, a citizen living abroad, or any other applicant qualified to vote pursuant to the Federal Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, 42 U.S.S. 1973ff (UOCAVA) can receive a ballot by electronic transmission or by U.S. Mail. 

Any military personnel can contact their military voting assistance officer and request Standard Form 76-A which is a Federal Post Card Voter Registration and request for Absentee Ballot or visit the website of the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) at www.fvap.gov. These applications are good for all elections of the same calendar year, so once this application is received, the applicant will automatically be mailed or emailed (depending on the selected method of receipt) a ballot for upcoming elections they are eligible to vote in. 

For UOCAVA (Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act) Absentee Ballot Applications, view it here: UOCAVA Fillable Absentee Ballot Application

Please mail your UOCAVA application to: 

Cassandra Johnson, Absentee Election Manager
801 Forrest Ave., Suite 202
Gadsden, AL 35901

Last day for military and other UOCAVA voters to postmark an absentee ballot returned by mailed to the Absentee Election Manager is the day of the election and must be received within 7 days of the election.

Note: The Absentee Election Manager should be notified if there is a change of address of military the voter between elections.

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Emergency Absentee Voting

EMERGENCY ABSENTEE VOTING applications can be made after the absentee deadline but no later than 5 PM on the day before the election, if the voter:

  • Is required by an employer under unforeseen circumstances to be unavailable at the polls on the day of the election
  • Is a caregiver of a person who requires emergency treatment by licensed physician within five days before an election
  • Has a family member to the second degree of kinship by affinity or consanguinity die within five days before an election

MEDICAL EMERGENCY ABSENTEE VOTING applications can be made by a voter who has a medical emergency requiring treatment from a licensed physician within 5 days of an election. During that 5-day period, the medical emergency absentee ballot application and the voted absentee ballot must be returned to later than noon on the day the election is held. The medical emergency absentee ballot application requires that the attending physician describe and certify the circumstances as constituting an emergency. The voter may designate someone to turn in the medical emergency absentee ballot application, receive the absentee ballot on behalf of the voter, and return the voted absentee ballot to the Absentee Election Manager on behalf of the voter.

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