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September 30, 2020

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Attorney General Steve Marshall Announces State Will Appeal Federal Court Ruling Blocking Enforcement of Alabama’s Absentee Voting Law

(MONTGOMERY) – Attorney General Steve Marshall announced Wednesday that the State of Alabama will appeal a federal district court ruling blocking enforcement of the State’s absentee voting law for the upcoming November 3 election.

“Once again, a federal district court has sided with those making unsupported claims that Alabama’s absentee voter requirements of a photo ID and witness signatures place voters at risk from COVID-19,” said Attorney General Marshall. “In addition to the fact that voters have nearly two months to obtain and fill out an absentee ballot application – not to mention every eligible voter can choose to vote absentee – opponents presented no evidence that voting absentee poses any appreciable risk to voters’ safety or that any Alabama voters were unable to cast their absentee ballots in the July 14 runoff elections because of the challenged provisions.

“The U.S. Supreme Court has explained, in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, that the right to vote includes the right to vote in an election where ‘safeguards exist to deter [and] detect fraud [and] to confirm the identity of voters.’ Alabama’s long-standing requirements that absentee voters submit a copy of their ID when obtaining a ballot and secure two witness signatures on the envelope in which they return their ballot advance the State’s important interest in fair elections. And these requirements are easy to safely satisfy, even during the pandemic. Moreover, the Secretary of State’s judgment that curbside voting cannot currently be offered in accordance with State law should not be second-guessed just weeks before election day.

“Back in June, the district court in this case enjoined these important protections for the primary runoff. But the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in, staying that injunction and allowing the State to enforce its laws. We will ask the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and, if necessary, the Supreme Court, to do the same again.

“Voting began weeks ago. And every Alabama voter is entitled to vote under the same laws, not new ones written by a federal court in the middle of voting.”