Like many of you, my family will be out of town when the run-off elections for the District Three races takes place on October 7th. Fall break is a wonderful thing; it’s a shame that it is exactly when most of the district population who will be most affected by the outcome of the school board race will be out of town.
Even though I have never missed voting in an election since I turned 18 many, MANY moons ago, I’ve never actually had to vote via an absentee ballot before. After having gone through this process, I’ll be polite and say that frankly the process of casting a vote should be easier and clearer than it actually is.
Depending on how you wish to cast an absentee ballot, there are two basic processes to follow for the October 7th run-off in district three.
Voting By Mail
If you wish to complete the process by mail, you may do so by following the steps below.
- Download and complete the Municipal Elections Absentee Ballot Application form. This is a PDF file. (If you don’t have Adobe Reader installed on your computer, you may download it from www.adobe.com)
- Mail the form back to the Clerk-Treasurer. Your application must be postmarked on or before Thursday, October 2, 2014.
- The address is: Charles E. Hagood, Clerk-Treasurer, PO Box 308, Huntsville, Alabama 35804.
- Please note, if you are mailing in two or more forms to request a ballot, you must mail them in separate envelopes. You cannot mail all the ballot applications from your home together. You must mail them in separately. (Thankfully, the clerk did actually call me to let me know this rather than simply toss the applications.)
- The clerk will then mail you a ballot to complete. Your ballot must completed and postmarked by Monday, October 6, 2014.
- When you return your ballot, you must also include a copy (Do not send the original) of your photo ID with the ballot.
- The ballots, like the applications, must be returned in separate envelopes as well.
Once you’ve done this, pat yourself on the back. You have successfully voted in the district three run-off election.
Voting in Person
If you prefer to vote in person, you may also do so. This was the process I followed, and I think it is simpler than the voting by mail process.
- Go to the Municipal Building downtown at 308 Fountain Circle, Third Floor, Huntsville, AL. 35801. I believe there is free parking in front of the building.
- After you check in and go through the metal detectors, you’ll be directed to the third floor. Once there, let the clerk on duty know that you wish to vote in the district three run-off election on October 7th, and she’ll walk you through the process.
- You may complete the Municipal Elections Absentee Ballot Application form and take it with you, but it will not actually be necessary to do so ahead of time. If you do, it should save you some time, however.
- You will need a valid photo ID to be allowed to vote.
Once completing these steps, you can again pat yourself on the back.
Yes, after filling out two forms of personal information, making sure that your name is actually on the voter registration list (where you also showed an ID and gave over your Driver’s License number and/or Social Security Number, address, former address, and phone numbers) and that you have completed the ballot you’re issued as well, you still have to prove that you are who you say you are.
Voter Fraud, where someone attempts to cast a vote for someone else, is not the problem. Voter suppression, where casting a vote is made prohibitively difficult, is.
Despite the difficulty of this process, please, please vote in the run-off election on October 7th. There were barely 4,800 votes cast in district three on August 26th for either the city council race or the school board race. Please go vote for the candidate of your choice on or before October 7th.