The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

October 30, 2012

Absentee voters continue to cast ballots ahead of Nov. 1 deadline

By Jean Cole

— Nearly 1,600 Limestone County registered voters have already cast absentee ballots for the Nov. 6 election.

They came to the Limestone County Courthouse in droves Monday, waiting in line 30 to 40 minutes to cast their ballots, said Limestone County Circuit Clerk Charles Page Jr., the absentee elections manager.

By 3:30 p.m. Monday, a total of 1,590 registered voters had already cast absentee ballots for the Nov. 6 election. Page also received another 50 to 75 absentee ballot applications in the mail, he said.

“I have never seen it this busy in my 24 years,” Page said.

The last day to apply for an absentee ballot is Nov. 1.

Why so many absentees?

Just what caused the influx of absentee voters this election is unclear. The sheer volume suggests some may simply be voting early rather than voting because they will be unable to do so on Election Day. If they voted early to avoid lines, they may have had better luck waiting until Nov. 6.

A registered voter is allowed to vote absentee only if he or she meets one or more of the following conditions:

• The voter will be absent from the county on Election Day;

• The voter is ill or has a physical disability that prevents a trip to the polling place;

• The voter is a registered Alabama voter living outside the county, such as a member of the armed forces, a voter employed outside the United States, a college student or a spouse or child of such a person;

• The voter is an appointed election officer or poll watcher at a polling place other than his or her regular polling place;

• The voter works a shift of 10-hours or more that coincides with polling hours (7 a.m. to 7 p.m.).