Alabama counties report record absentee voting amid pandemic

Alabama counties already are reporting record numbers of absentee ballots a month ahead of Election Day.

Posted: Oct 5, 2020 3:56 PM
Updated: Oct 5, 2020 3:57 PM

JASPER, Ala. (AP) — Alabama counties are reporting record numbers of absentee ballots a month ahead of Election Day, and local officials say they're taking steps to cope with a flood of mail-in votes that's likely to continue for weeks during the pandemic.

Northwest of Birmingham in Walker County, Circuit Clerk Susan Odom obtained permission from the state to use two additional poll workers and have two tabulation machines instead of one to handle absentee ballots that she estimated could run into the thousands.

As of Sept. 23, at a time in an election year when her office usually hadn't received any absentees ballots yet, Odom's office already had received nearly 260 completed ballots and mailed 640 to would-be voters, the Daily Mountain Eagle reported.

Across the state in Lee County, Probate Judge Bill English told county commissioners last week that the county already had broken the old record for absentee voting.

As many as 10 people per day are working into the evening to keep up with the push, which can cause lines over an hour long some days for people showing up at the courthouse to cast an absentee ballot, the Opelika-Auburn News quoted absentee office manager James Majors as saying.

With about 160,000 cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the state and more than 2,550 deaths from the illness caused by the new coronavirus, Alabama officials said about 120,000 voters had requested absentee ballots as of Friday and more than 53,000 already had been returned.

More than 2.1 million people voted in the presidential election four years ago in Alabama, and officials expect hundreds of thousands more this year for the race between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden. The state has added the coronavirus pandemic as a legal reason for voting absentee.

To help cope with the flood of mail-in ballots, Gov. Kay Ivey last week said county offices could begin counting absentee ballots at 7 a.m. on Election Day rather than waiting until after polls close 12 hours later.

The extra time could help speed up election returns, and it could be needed in places including Montgomery County, where election officials said they mail more than 8,000 absentee ballots in a month compared to 5,000 in the 55 days before the 2016 election.

“We are busy. Very busy,” said Gina Ishman, the county circuit clerk and absentee election manager, told the Montgomery Advertiser. ”That just tells you that voters are concerned about going to the polls on Election Day.”

Voters can request absentee ballots as late as five days before the election.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 313166

Reported Deaths: 7228
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21496257
Hinds20294414
Harrison17814309
Rankin13573278
Jackson13411246
Madison10066217
Lee9962173
Jones8364163
Forrest7649152
Lauderdale7181240
Lowndes6370145
Lamar621686
Lafayette6171118
Washington5323133
Bolivar4797132
Oktibbeha461498
Panola4561105
Pearl River4499145
Marshall4397103
Warren4380121
Pontotoc419572
Monroe4100133
Union409076
Neshoba4026176
Lincoln3950110
Hancock377786
Leflore3487125
Sunflower335790
Tate332484
Pike3301105
Scott315373
Alcorn311968
Yazoo310769
Itawamba299477
Copiah296465
Simpson294788
Coahoma294379
Tippah287768
Prentiss279560
Adams269582
Marion268880
Leake266273
Wayne262341
Grenada260386
Covington256381
George246848
Newton246061
Winston226881
Tishomingo225967
Jasper220848
Attala214173
Chickasaw207157
Holmes188673
Clay184754
Stone182033
Tallahatchie178140
Clarke177879
Calhoun170132
Yalobusha163337
Smith162234
Walthall133845
Greene130333
Lawrence128323
Montgomery126742
Noxubee126734
Perry125938
Amite122842
Carroll121728
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis106932
Tunica104826
Claiborne102230
Benton99125
Humphreys96133
Kemper95428
Franklin83623
Quitman80216
Choctaw76118
Wilkinson66930
Jefferson65428
Sharkey50317
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 530325

Reported Deaths: 10966
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson763971520
Mobile40908804
Madison34717503
Tuscaloosa25730452
Montgomery24314588
Shelby23401249
Baldwin21107307
Lee15856171
Calhoun14488314
Morgan14282279
Etowah13819353
Marshall12210223
Houston10557280
Elmore10044205
Limestone9954150
Cullman9649193
St. Clair9644242
Lauderdale9419241
DeKalb8825185
Talladega8214175
Walker7223277
Autauga6918108
Jackson6804112
Blount6651137
Colbert6292134
Coffee5506119
Dale4828111
Russell440638
Chilton4279112
Franklin425582
Covington4118118
Tallapoosa4019152
Escambia393276
Chambers3559123
Dallas3547151
Clarke350861
Marion3113100
Pike310577
Lawrence299898
Winston274072
Bibb260464
Marengo249264
Geneva249077
Pickens234160
Barbour230757
Hale222677
Butler215969
Fayette212062
Henry188744
Cherokee184445
Randolph179941
Monroe177340
Washington167039
Macon158750
Clay156156
Crenshaw152057
Cleburne148741
Lamar141934
Lowndes138653
Wilcox127030
Bullock123041
Conecuh110129
Perry107526
Coosa107128
Sumter104332
Greene92334
Choctaw60424
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