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2020 Election: What you need to know before Election Day

Important election day information that you need to know.

ALABAMA, USA — Election Day 2020 is coming up. Here’s what you need to know before you head to the polls.

Voter Registration

The last day to register to vote in the upcoming general election is October 19. 

Not sure if you're registered to vote or if you're still on the voter rolls? Click here to check.

According to the Alabama Secretary of State, you may register to vote at any point except for the 14 days before an election and on election day. 

In order to register to vote in Alabama, you must be a citizen of the United States, reside in Alabama, be at least 18 years old on or before the election day, has not been barred from voting due to a disqualifying felony conviction and has not been declared mentally incompetent by a court.

Voter registration applications can be submitted online at alabamavotes.gov. Paper registration forms must be postmarked, hand-delivered to the Board of Registrars or submitted at a participating agency-based voter registration location prior to the registration deadline for an election.



Click here for resources regarding voter registration.

RELATED: Election 2020: Local organizations to host North Alabama voter registration clinics

Polling Places and Voter ID

The Secretary of State said that your county’s Board of Registrars sends a voter information card to each voter that will include the address of that voter’s polling place. You can also verify where you should vote on the Secretary of State’s website by clicking here

While face masks are encouraged, you will not be turned away from voting if you're not wearing one.

Polling places in Alabama are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Here’s what the Secretary of State said you can expect the voting procedure to be:

  1. You will provide your name to a poll worker and present an acceptable form of photo ID. The following items may be used as a photo ID:
    • Valid Alabama Driver’s License
    • Valid Alabama Nondriver ID
    • Valid free Alabama Photo Voter ID card
    • Valid State-issued ID (Including states other than Alabama)
    • Valid Federal-issued ID
    • Valid U.S. passport
    • Valid Employee ID from the Federal Government, State of Alabama, County, Municipality, Board or other entity of Alabama
    • Valid Student or Employee ID from a public or private college or university in Alabama, including postgraduate technical or professional schools
    • Valid Student or Employee ID issued by a state institution of higher learning in any other state
    • Valid Military ID
    • Valid Tribal ID
  2. The poll worker will check your name against the list of registered voters in that precinct. You may need to update your voter registration form, which will be provided at the polling place, before being allowed to vote.
  3. You will sign the poll list.
  4. You will cast your vote.

The Secretary of State said that procedures may vary depending on the type of equipment used at each individual polling place.

If your name does not show up on the list of registered voters for that polling place, the poll worker will contact the local Board of Registrars to determine if you are eligible to vote at that polling place.

If you cannot provide a valid photo ID, you may vote if you are positively identified by two election officials.

Questions about the election or voting? Text them to (256) 382-2692



RELATED: 2020 Election: How to fill out an absentee ballot

RELATED: View your 2020 Election sample ballot

Voting by Absentee Ballot

According to the Secretary of State, you may cast an absentee ballot for the following situations:

  • You expect to be absent from the county you are registered to vote in on election day
  • You are ill or have a physical infirmity preventing you from taking a trip to the polling place
  • You are a registered Alabama voter living outside of the county you are registered to vote in
  • You are an appointed election officer or poll watcher
  • You expect to work a shift with at least 10 hours coinciding with polling hours
  • You are a caregiver to a family member that is confined to his or her own home
  • You are incarcerated in prison or jail and have not been convicted of a felony involving moral turpitude.

During COVID-19, anyone may request an absentee ballot by choosing, "I have an illness or infirmity which prevents by attendance at the polls." on their absentee ballot application.

RELATED: Do you need to restore your voting rights?

RELATED: How to become a poll worker

When you apply for an absentee ballot, make sure you use your county's Absentee Voter application.

  • Your name and residential address
  • A copy of your valid photo ID
  • The election for which the ballot is requested
  • The reason you will be absent from the polls on Election Day
  • An address the ballot should be mailed to
  • Your signature

The application must be returned to the Absentee Election Manager by either in person or by mail at least five days before the election.

This is not your actual ballot. That will come separately. 

Don't wait until the last minute to apply for or return your absentee ballot. Unless you are delivering your ballot in-person to your county's election office, allow time for mail delivery.


Absentee voting begins for the general election on September 9. The deadline to submit an application for an absentee ballot is October 29. Absentee ballots must be either hand-delivered or postmarked by November 2. For a Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act ballot, it must be received by November 10 and postmarked no later than Election Day.

The following is the absentee voting process, according to the Secretary of State. Make sure you follow all the steps.

  1. Print an application from the Secretary of State's website or request an application from your Absentee Election Manager.
  2. Fill out an application and remember to include a copy of your valid photo ID with the application.
  3. Return the application to the Absentee Election Manager either by hand or by mail.
  4. Once you receive the ballot, fill it out.
  5. Place the ballot inside the "Secrecy Envelope" and seal it.
  6. Place the envelope inside of the Affidavit Envelope and seal the Affidavit Envelope.
  7. Fill out the Affidavit, including two witness' signatures, or have it notarized.
  8. Place the Affidavit Envelope inside the pre-addressed mailing envelope and seal it.
  9. Mail the envelope and all its contents to your Absentee Election Manager or hand-deliver it before election day.

It's important to note that the ballot cannot be counted unless the affidavit is notarized or has the signatures of two witnesses who are 18 years old or older.

Voting With a Provisional Ballot

According to the Secretary of State, a provisional ballot is voted the same as any other ballot, but the voter must sign an affidavit attesting to his or her eligibility to vote and complete a voter update form.

You may vote using a provisional ballot if your name does not appear on the poll list, you don’t have a valid photo ID and cannot be positively identified by two voting officials, if you didn’t include a valid photo ID with your absentee ballot application or if you didn’t cast your absentee ballot.

Click here for additional resources regarding absentee voting.

IN OTHER NEWS: Alabama Secretary of State talks to WZDX about options for voting in the November Election

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