Absentee ballots can be opened earlier; no poll worker shortage expected

Gov. Ivey authorizes changes for Election Day

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Officials can open absentee ballots several hours earlier on election day after Gov. Kay Ivey issued a supplemental state of emergency.

This comes as Secretary of State John Merrill expects the number successful returned absentee ballots to skyrocket around 150,000 to 200,000 this year. Alabama’s record stands around 89,000.

Officials can open absentee ballots beginning at 7 a.m. for tabulation election day. Previously the earliest they could be opened was noon.

“We just want to make sure that we’ve given them ample time to do what they need to do,” Merrill said.

Gov. Kay Ivey is also allowing 16 to18-year-olds, who are usually unpaid, to now receive $50 in compensation to be a poll worker election day.

“Back in July, there was definitely a shortage. We were down about 150 poll workers than we normally would have," Montgomery County Probate Judge J C Love said.

Love said now they have extra poll workers for the November election.

“In case people fall out or they may come in with this virus that we have enough people to be able to staff the polls on election day," he said.

Merrill said there should not be a shortage of poll workers in any county in Alabama. He also expects all successfully returned absentee ballots and votes cast on election day to be counted the day of the election.

The last day to register to vote in Alabama for this election is Oct. 19.

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