Will Alabama Join Early Voting States?

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By Lisa Blackwell

While Alabama voters wait for Election Day,  those in many other states can already cast their ballot because of early voting programs.

In fact, President Obama voted Thursday in Chicago. 

Will Alabama ever join those states in opening the polls sooner?

Alabama tried early in person voting back in the 1990's but not enough people participated.

While some voters welcome the opportunity other factors may deter the state from trying it now.

In Alabama, voters have two choices. They can vote absentee or wait for the general election. People signing up at Montgomery's Voter Registration office say they would like the flexibility of voting early at the polls.

Jerome Brown, a supporter of early voting, says, "It just frees up the time for people to have the opportunity, they're not bound to one day, having the opportunity to go at another time and vote."

Vickie Sullivan, who also supports early voting,, says "It would be better for the state and people they would have time they wouldn't have to rush and get voted."

State Representative Greg Wren, (R) District 75, says, "Legislators have considered early voting, but as long as the deaprtment of justice is monitoring Alabama under the voting rights act, he says it's best to avoid any opportunity for fraud."

"I think it puts a tool into the toolbox of someone who wants to try to mess with elections and mess with results the capacity to be able to create fraud," said Wren.

In addition, Wren says early voting would cost the state more money at a time when it can least afford it.

"If we mandate it then the state has to fund the 67 counties who do it, that's manpower, that's printing, that's tremendous additional cost our budge can't handle," said Wren.

Wren says after this election, legislative staff will be looking carefully at data from other states that held early voting to see if it's something that could be done in Alabama.

 

We asked workers in the Secretary of State's Office to talk with us about early voting, but they refused to do an interview.

 

 

More than 30 states are holding early voting for this election.

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