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July 2, 2020

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Attorney General Steve Marshall Announces U.S. Supreme Court Grants Alabama’s Emergency Stay Request in State Absentee Voting Case

(MONTGOMERY) – Attorney General Steve Marshall announced that the U.S.
Supreme Court granted the State of Alabama’s emergency request for a stay of the federal district court’s June 15, 2020 preliminary injunction of Alabama’s absentee voting laws.

“We are pleased that the Supreme Court acted quickly to grant the State’s emergency stay request so that Alabama’s absentee voting laws remains in effect for the upcoming July 14, 2020 run-off election,” said Attorney General Marshall said. “Alabama is again able to enforce laws that help ensure the fairness and integrity of our elections.”

To protect against absentee ballot voter fraud, Alabama law has for years required most categories of voters who apply for an absentee ballot to submit a copy of their photo ID. For similar reasons, Alabama law requires that absentee voters have two witnesses, or one notary sign the envelope in which a voter submit the absentee ballot. The district court’s preliminary injunction had prohibited local election officials in Jefferson, Lee, and Mobile Counties from enforcing these anti-fraud provisions against many voters. And the injunction had prohibited the Secretary of State from halting curbside voting that otherwise complied with state law. With the July 14 election approaching, the State asked the Supreme Court to stay the injunction so state law could again be given effect.

“As we argued in our stay request to the Supreme Court, the district court’s injunction undermined confidence in the ongoing election by altering the anti-fraud provisions related to absentee voting,” added Attorney General Marshall. “Though Alabama has undertaken extraordinary measures to ensure the safety of voters during the pandemic, including making absentee voting available to every eligible voter for the upcoming runoff and giving voters more than three additional months to obtain their ballots, plaintiffs sought more by demanding that the photo ID and witness requirements be shelved for the pandemic. But the Supreme Court has previously recognized the importance of ‘safeguards Ö to deter and detect fraud and to confirm the identity of voters.’ And the Court has cautioned lowered courts against altering election laws on the eve of an election. We made this case to the Court, and we are gratified that the Court agreed to our request for the stay.”

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