Alabama voters would not have to give a reason for voting absentee under a bill that passed the state Senate last week. Current law requires voters to sign an affidavit attached to the ballot that affirms their identity and gives one of the following reasons for voting absentee: out of town on election day; physically incapacitated; working all day while the polls are open; attending college in another county; being an armed services member or the spouse or dependent of one. The bill, by Sen. Rodger Smitherman, D-Birmingham, would eliminate the requirement to give a reason and the requirement to have two witnesses or a notary public sign the identifying affidavit.
Smitherman’s bill would add one new requirement. Voters would have to include a copy of a photo ID with their application for an absentee ballot. They already have to do that with the ballot itself, but not with the application.
Smitherman said the changes would increase voter participation. “It’s just about making it more convenient for our citizens to vote and having a more secure procedure,” he said.