Secretary of State Beth Chapman announced today that a bill that would make voting easier for responders to states of emergency received final passage in the Senate. The bill, House Bill 373, was sponsored by Representative Barry Moore and handled in the Senate by Senator Bryan Taylor.
In 2012, Hurricane Sandy, which happened a few days before the Presidential election, made it clear the law in Alabama needed to be changed to allow responders to such disasters to be able to complete emergency absentee ballots.
"We heard from many of these responders and their family members during the time of the election and Hurricane Sandy. We were very discouraged that there was little we could do to allow them to vote in an emergency capacity. This law allows us to do that," Chapman said.
The law states that if the Governor of this state or any other state declares a state of emergency in the time surrounding an election, the Secretary of State can promulgate an emergency rule at his or her discretion in order to allow these voters who are responding to that state of emergency to fill out emergency absentee ballots and also allows more time for receiving those ballots. It is much like a law that is currently in place for members of the military.
"I thank the legislature for addressing this most important issue this year and am especially thankful that we have the ability to make voting easier for those who risk their lives to respond to disasters," said Chapman.