Ala. counties dealing with high number of absentee ballot applications during pandemic

Some counties flooded with absentee ballot requests

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama counties are trying to process a high number of absentee ballot applications before the primary runoff election Tuesday.

Montgomery County Absentee Election Manager Gina Ishman said they have seen a spike in the number of calls and voting absentee ballot applications they are receiving.

“I received over 300 applications for this primary runoff and I’ve never seen those numbers before,” Ishman said.

During a general election, which has more statewide races, she says the most they will see in one day is about 80 to 100 applications.

Ishman said they have worked longer hours to make sure people receive their ballots in a timely fashion.

For Elmore County, Absentee Election Manager Michael Dozier said the number of absentee ballots have surged as well.

“So it’s definitely picked up, which I guess really we’re doing numbers that we expect for the presidential election, but we didn’t expect it for the last two and a half weeks of a runoff with so few races,” Dozier said.

Ishman said about 95% of ballot applicants are taking advantage of absentee voting because of COVID.

The Alabama Secretary of State’s office said about 31,000 people had submitted absentee ballot applications statewide with 14,670 having already submitted their ballot on July 1.

Secretary Merrill expects 17-22% of Alabama voters to participate in the July 14 Runoff Election, which is higher than runoffs in previous years.

In the 2017 Special Primary Runoff for U.S. Senate, 15% of eligible voters participated.

In the 2014 Primary Runoff in which there was a congressional race, two statewide races, and several local positions on the ballot, 11% of eligible voters participated.

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