Thursday, November 1, 2018 is the last date to apply for an Absentee Ballot in the upcoming November 6 General Election. You must apply by mail (alabamavotes.gov) or in person at the Circuit Clerk’s office to receive an Absentee Ballot. The Absentee Ballot must be returned in person or postmarked by November 5, 2018, the day before Election Day on November 6, 2018. If you know you will not be able to get to vote on November 6, 2018, you can walk into the Circuit Clerk’s office and vote absentee until November 1st. As of Tuesday, October 23, there have been 176 applications for absentee ballots in the coming election according to Mattie Atkins, Circuit Clerk and Absentee Elections manager. “ I expect we will have over 200 absentee ballots cast by the deadline. This is in line with our voting history over the past few elections in Greene County,” said Atkins. “There is no reason why everyone should not vote,” said Lorenzo French, Chair of the Greene County Democratic Executive Committee. “If you are registered in Greene County, but live away, or are attending school, or are sick and homebound, or work on a job which will not let you get back home in time to vote, you still have time to apply for and vote absentee,” said French. There are 7,090 people registered and qualified to vote in the November 6 election according to the Greene County Board of Registrars. In recent elections, 3,500 voters or around 50% turned out to vote, while Greene County had among the highest percentage turnouts in the state, we were far from a record-breaking performance. “This is a critical election in Alabama, all of the major offices in state government in Montgomery including Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, four Supreme court Justices, every state Senator and Representative in the Legislature, all of our Congress-persons and many local officials will be on the ballot,” said Senator Hank Sanders of Alabama. “We need the highest turnout that we can get. Every voter must be concerned and motivated to vote. During the Civil Rights Movement, people died and were beaten for working for the right to vote,” said Spiver W. Gordon, veteran activist. Among the five major reasons people gave for not voting and the responses follow.
• MY VOTE DOESN’T MATTER. Not true. “One vote can make a difference,” says Common Cause, a grassroots organization whose mission is upholding the core values of American democracy. “Many voters, together deciding they will make a difference, can change an election.” The group notes that some local, state and presidential elections have been decided by only “a handful of votes.” Your vote is important for influencing public policy decisions. According to the 2015 report “Why Voting Matters,” voting “plays a significant role in the distribution of government resources as well as the size of government and who benefits from public policies.” The lower voter turnout of young, poor, minority or otherwise marginalized groups has a definite impact on how they’re represented in government.
• I DON’T LIKE THE CANDIDATES AND HATE THE “LESSER OF TWO EVILS” STRATEGY. If you really didn’t want to vote for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump — they were the most unpopular presidential candidates in recent history — you could’ve instead voted for a third party, independent or write-in candidate. It’s important to also vote for the other candidates on your ballot, including those running for Congress and your state legislature. As noted above, your vote truly will influence these lawmakers.As for the lesser of two evils strategy, you should consider what’s at stake in this election — including important issues like gun control, climate change, affordable health care and much more — and vote to support what you believe in.
• IT’S TOO RAINY/SNOWY/HOT/COLD OUTSIDE. Studies have found that Republicans usually win on rainy Election Days. “The traditional Democratic base tends to include lower-income people and the elderly,” explains Wendy Schiller, a political science professor at Brown University. “Both of those demographic groups have a hard time getting to the polls.” One way of avoiding having to venture out in inclement weather on Election Day is to apply for an absentee ballot. You can mail in your completed ballot.
•IT TAKES TOO LONG. I HATE WAITING IN LINE. Voting takes less than 14 minutes on average, yet it can affect the next four or more years. To save time at your polling place, complete and bring your sample ballot with you. If possible, go when it’s not too busy — which is usually in the middle of either the morning or afternoon. Avoid going early in the morning or in the early evening, which are usually the busiest times.
•I DON’T KNOW IF I’M REGISTERED. You can check online to see if you’re registered to vote at your current address. Go to a website like Vote.org and select your state to get started.