You may wonder, “Why bother voting?” It can be a hassle to get to the polling station, find a place to park and then have to stand in line for who knows how long. And besides, you might think, “My vote really doesn’t matter.”
Except when your vote really does matter.
History is rife with races decided by razor-thin margins. Just this year, Auburn City Councilman Jay Hovey held a one-vote lead over incumbent Tom Whatley in the Republican primary for Alabama Senate, but Whatley challenged the results. A state Republican Party committee voted to count a provisional vote for Whatley, making the race a tie. After a week of drama and uncertainty, Whatley dropped his challenge. Hovey will face Democrat Sherri Reese in the Nov. 8 general election.
“Voting is a wonderful privilege and, by exercising your right to vote, you have the amazing opportunity to voice your personal opinion and participate in the selection of our newest elected officials,” said Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill on the 2022 Voter Guide. “Remember that every vote matters and shares an equal degree of importance.”
If you want to take advantage of this privilege and exercise your right to vote in Alabama next month, here are the key dates to keep in mind:
- Oct. 24 – Voter registration deadline.
- Nov. 1 – Last day to apply for an absentee ballot by mail.
- Nov. 3 – Last day for voter to apply for an absentee ballot in person.
- Nov. 7 – Last day for voter to hand-deliver an absentee ballot.
- Nov. 8 – Election Day; absentee ballots returned by mail must be received by noon.*
People can register to vote if they are U.S. citizens, live in Alabama, are at least 18 years old on or before Election Day, aren’t barred from voting due to a disqualifying felony conviction and haven’t been declared mentally incompetent by a court.
History shows every vote can make a difference. (Getty Images)
There are many ways a person can register to vote:
- Online at alabamavotes.gov if they have an Alabama driver’s license or nondriver identification card.
- By using the Vote for Alabama app if they have an Alabama driver’s license or nondriver identification card.
- When applying for or renewing an Alabama driver’s license or nondriver identification card.
- At state and local government offices when applying or recertifying for Aid to Dependent Children, SNAP, TANF, Food Stamps, WIC, Medicaid or Rehabilitation Services.
- At U.S. armed forces recruiting stations.
- At the Board of Registrars located at the county seat in the voter’s county of residence.
- By mail-in form available at probate judge and license commissioner offices, colleges, universities, public schools or libraries. A mail-in registration form may be obtained by calling the county Board of Registrars or the Elections Division in the Office of the Secretary of State at 1-800-274-VOTE (8683).
- By mail-in form downloaded from the secretary of state’s website.
There are many reasons a voter can cast an absentee ballot in the 2022 election, including:
- If you expect to be absent from the county on Election Day.
- If you are ill or have a physical infirmity that prevents a trip to the polling place.
- If you are a registered Alabama voter living outside the county, including but not limited to: members of the armed forces, or a spouse or dependent of such a person, or a U.S. citizen living overseas, or a student at an educational institution located outside their county of residence.
- If you are an appointed election officer or poll watcher at a polling place other than your own polling place.
- If you expect to work a required shift that has at least 10 hours that coincide with polling hours.
- If you are a caregiver for a family member to the second degree of kinship and the family member is confined to their own home.
- If you are in prison or jail and have not been convicted of a felony involving moral turpitude.
Voters can verify their polling place at alabamavotes.gov. Check with your city clerk for municipal elections. Polling places are open on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Voters must present an acceptable form of photo identification to a poll worker. Here are acceptable photo IDs:
Voting absentee is a good option for many people. (Getty Images)
- A valid Alabama driver’s license – including an Alabama Law Enforcement Agency digital driver’s license (not expired or expired less than 60 days).
- A valid Alabama nondriver ID – including an Alabama Law Enforcement Agency digital nondriver ID (not expired or expired less than 60 days).
- A valid Alabama photo voter ID card.
- A valid state-issued ID (Alabama or any other state). Examples: a valid pistol permit (photo required), valid Alabama movement/booking sheet from prison/jail system (photo required) or valid Alabama Department of Corrections release temporary ID (photo required).
- A valid federal-issued ID.
- A valid U.S. passport.
- A valid employee ID from the federal government, state of Alabama, county, municipality, board or other entity of the state.
- A valid student or employee ID from a public or private college or university in Alabama (including postgraduate technical or professional schools).
- A valid student or employee ID issued by a state institution of higher learning in any other state.
- A valid military ID.
- A valid tribal ID.
To learn more, visit the official online voting information center at alabamavotes.gov.
* Except for the military and citizens living overseas who cast absentee ballots pursuant to the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act. Those ballots must be postmarked no later than Election Day and received by Nov. 15.