Tuesday, June 23, 2020

AL Seeks to Block Federal Judge’s Order for Curbside Voting and Relaxing Absentee Ballot Rules

Alabama has asked a Federal Appeals Court for an Emergency Stay of a Federal Judge’s Order that Allows Local Officials to offer Curbside Voting during the COVID-19 Pandemic and Relaxes Restrictions on Absentee Ballots in Three Counties for the July 14th Runoff Election.

U.S. District Judge, Abdul K. Kallon, ruled Monday night in Favor of the Plaintiffs in a Lawsuit who Claim several Alabama Voting Restrictions Violate their Voting Rights because of Hardships and Risks created by the Coronavirus Pandemic.

The Alabama Attorney General’s Office filed a Notice of Appeal to the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday and on Wednesday asked that Court in an Emergency Motion to Block Implementation of Kallon’s Order while they Appeal.

Kallon ruled that the Potential Health Risks to Older and Medically Vulnerable Voters in going to the Polls, or getting Absentee Ballots Witnessed or Notarized, Merited the Changes.

He lifted a Statewide Prohibition on Curbside Voting at In-Person Polling Locations. He also Waived Requirements in Mobile, Jefferson, and Lee Counties for Voters to get their Absentee Ballot Notarized or Witnessed by Two Adults and the Requirement that Absentee Voters who are 65 and Older, or Disabled, Mail-In Copies of their Photo IDs. The Three Counties are where Plaintiffs in the Lawsuit Live and the Lawsuit named Election Officials in those Three Counties as Defendants.

The Lawsuit was filed May 1st by Four Individual Voters, Represented by the Alabama State Conference of the NAACP, Greater Birmingham Ministries, and People First of Alabama.

In its Motion on Wednesday, the Alabama Attorney General’s Office states that the Plaintiffs “will not be harmed by a stay of the lower court’s order because they will still be able to vote—by absentee ballot if they wish, in person if they choose. They, like every other Alabamian, will simply need to follow the generally applicable election laws that ensure that a legitimate, lawful election takes place. Doing so does not constitute a great burden.”

The Attorney General’s Office, which is Appealing on behalf of Alabama Secretary of State, John Merrill, noted in its Court filing that Alabama’s Primary Runoff Election is less than a month away, July 14th, and Absentee Voting is already taking place.

“The district court (Kallon) rewrote the anti-fraud provisions of the State’s absentee-voting law to exempt from compliance certain voters who “determine(d)” for themselves that the State’s law is “unreasonable … in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Merrill also has said Curbside Voting, where a Voter could stay in their Car and Cast their Ballot, is Not provided for in the Code or the Constitution in the State of Alabama. “The legislature has never passed a law that makes it permissible,” he said. Kallon, however, did Not see a specific Law that Banned it.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey had Postponed the Runoff from March 31st to July 14th because of the Pandemic and Merrill has Waived the Normal Requirements for Casting an Absentee Ballot, Voter is: Sick, Out-of-Town, or Working an All-Day Shift.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

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