Election Day Tips
Alabama Republican Party – (866) 675-2772 or (866) 675-5803
Alabama Democratic Party – (800) 995-3386
Shirley Ferrill is charged up. She’s canvassed voters since she was 14.
“A bunch of us teenagers went door to door helping people fill out registration cards. And I’m 55. And I don’t have any problem with that cause I’m glad to be alive.”
This campaign veteran along, with first timer Rebecca Schiffman, are canvassing in north Birmingham for Greater Birmingham Ministries. They ruffle through a clipboard of voter lists and consult the map, planning the next stop.
“So we need…28th street? What do we got? [Schiffman] It’s about two or three blocks that way.”
It’s a pretty straightforward routine. Find the house. Introduce yourself…
“My name’s Shirley. This is Rebecca. And we’re doing some voter outreach
Then start the questions…
“And just wanted to see if you’re planning to vote on November 4th, cause we do
see that you’re a registered voter?”
So consider this your voter canvassing via the radio. Are you planning to vote tomorrow? Are you registered? Not sure? Alabama’s Supervisor of Voter Registration Ed Packard explains what to do.
“Well if they’re not sure they’re registered to vote, the best thing for them to do is contact the Board of Registrars office for their county.”
You can also check the Alabama Secretary of State’s web site. And while you’re there, you can find another vital piece of information – where’s my polling place?
Back on the voter trail with Rebecca and Shirley, they pass a couple of guys leaning against the hood of a car in front of a barber shop.
“How you doing? You guys registered to vote?”
One guy says yes and the other says he has a felony and can’t vote. But that may or may not be true because of an issue which arose about a month ago. In Alabama, people convicted of felonies of “moral turpitude” can’t vote. The problem was the Attorney General, the Governor and the Administrative Office of the Courts, each had their own lists of crimes and they varied widely. From as few as 28 to more than 400. But Ed Packard says the Secretary of State’s Office settled on the less restrictive Attorney General’s opinion. We’re talking things like rape, murder and burglary, but not felony DUI.
“In our recommendation from the Secretary of State’s Office to the Boards of
Registrars is that if there’s any doubt about someone’s qualifications. You leave them on the list.”
Still the state Democratic Party has raised concerns some people may have been unfairly purged. So let’s say you show up to vote and for whatever reason, your name isn’t on the rolls. What then?
“They do have a right to vote what’s called a provisional ballot.”
That ballot is marked by the voter on Election Day and then officials have 7 days to figure out if the voter was improperly purged, in which case the ballot is counted. The Secretary of State’s office is under no obligation to contact voters about provisional ballots. But you can go to their web site and see if it counted and if not, why not.
The Alabama Democratic and Republican parties have hotlines set up to report allegations of voter fraud and misconduct, as does the Attorney General.
So after an historic election season, just one thing left – make your choice. Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.