MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The latest numbers show Alabama voters cast more than triple the number of absentee ballots in the upcoming general election compared to 2016.
Of the 329,657 absentee ballots have been requested so far, a total of 276,352 have been returned, or about 83.8 percent.
In Montgomery County, the demand for absentee voting is unprecedented with five times the number of absentee ballots cast compared to the county’s record.
Montgomery County Probate Judge J.C. Love is expecting to see the same record-setting numbers at the polls on Tuesday.
" I think you’re probably going to see a lot more people than you’ve probably ever seen in any other election here in Montgomery County," explained Love. “We’re trying to get people in as quickly and as safely as possible.”
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill predicts a 68 to 75 percent voter turnout for the general election. In Montgomery, that would translate to between 112,200 and 123,000 voters on Nov. 3.
By Tuesday, all 49 Montgomery polling precincts will be professionally sanitized. When voters arrive, poll workers will be wearing masks and protective equipment.
“We will have the non-latex gloves for people to go ahead and use to check in on the poll pad, they will be given disposable pins," Love explained. "The commonly used surfaces will be frequently wiped down and hand sanitizer will be all over each polling precinct.”
On the heels of an historic election, lines may be inevitable due to the CDC’s distancing requirements. New technology will allow voters to monitor wait times at their precinct from any device.
“We are trying to make it as easy for people to plan whether they want to go before they go to work, on the lunch hour, or they want to make the evening rush when they get off from work. We want to get as much real time information to voters as possible,” Love stated.
That technology will be managed in an election control center, which will also sound the alarm on any issues that may arise. Technicians are scheduled to be on site to quickly respond.
“This is new, so we’ll be the only large county in Alabama that will be using it,” Love confirmed.
Love reminds voters, don’t be discouraged if the lines are long at the end of the day.
“If you’re in line at 7 p.m. on election day, then you will be able to cast your ballot,” he assured. “If it takes us actually closing that precinct at 8:30 to 9pm to get everyone who is in line at 7 p.m. to vote, we will do that.”
For those who still have an absentee ballot, you’re encouraged to turn those in by hand at the courthouse. Montgomery County is offering a special absentee ballot drop off time slot Saturday from 9 a.m. through 1 p.m. The deadline to turn in absentee ballots to the Absentee Election Manager is Monday, Nov. 2 at 5 p.m.
Voters can find the real-time precinct information on election day at www.montgomeryelectioncenter.org.
It’s also available through an app which users can find by searching their app store for “Montgomery Probate Court.”