Some Jefferson County, Alabama voters may have their ballots thrown out after a court ruling overrode voting instructions that came with the ballots they received and ultimately mailed in.
Absentee voters in Alabama are typically required to have two witnesses or a notary present when their ballot is signed and must sign the ballot, too.
On September 30, a federal judge allowed the county’s election officials to provide a waiver with absentee ballots, allowing voters with some medical conditions to avoid the state law signature requirement due to pandemic health concerns.
Election officials mailed out ballots with the waiver attached to voters in the centrally-located county, which boasts 500,000 registered voters.
On October 13, the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit reversed this provision, making a witness’ signature required again, leaving some absentee voters' ballots in limbo.
Voting rights activists including Deuel Ross, a lawyer with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, are pushing the county to protect these voters’ ballots as it is unclear if the county election officials have done anything to protect the ballots without witness signatures.
This new rule change comes as local and state election officials around the country struggle to provide voters with accurate information due to ongoing court proceedings dealing with election rules.
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