League of Women Voters

Alabama Absentee Voting

The last day to apply for an absentee ballot is five days prior to an election. Ballots must be postmarked by the day before the election or can be hand delivered by 5:00 pm on Election Day.

For statewide elections, absentee ballot applications and completed absentee ballots should be hand delivered or mailed to the absentee election manager in care of the circuit clerk for your county.

If you vote an absentee ballot you must submit a copy of a valid photo ID. If you are entitled to vote absentee through the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, the Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act, or any other federal law, you are not required to show the photo ID when voting absentee.

Absentee Voting Eligibility

You may cast an absentee ballot if you:

  • Will be absent from the county on Election Day
  • Are ill or have a physical disability that prevents a trip to the polling place
  • Are a registered Alabama voter living outside the county, such as a member of the armed forces, a voter employed outside the United States, a college student, or a spouse or child of such a person
  • Are an appointed election office or poll watcher at a polling place other than your regular polling place
  • You are working a required shift of ten hours or more that coincides with polling hours

Business and medical emergency voting applications can be made after the absentee deadline, but no later than 5:00 pm on the day before the election, if you:

  • Are required by an employer under unforeseen circumstances to be out of the county on Election Day for an emergency business trip
  • Have a medical emergency requiring treatment from a licensed physician

In addition to application information outlined in the next section, the business emergency application contains an affidavit acknowledging that you were not aware of the out-of-county business trip prior to the normal absentee ballot deadline. The medical emergency application requires that the attending physician describe and certify the circumstances as constituting an emergency.

To obtain an absentee ballot, write or visit the local absentee election manager at your local circuit clerk. You will need to provide the following information:

  • Name and residential address (or other information to verify voter registration)
  • Election for which the ballot is requested
  • Reason for absence from polls on Election Day
  • Party choice for primary elections
  • Address to which the ballot should be mailed
  • Voter signature (if a mark is made in place of a signature, it must be witnessed)

Upon receiving the absentee ballot application, the absentee election manager may request additional evidence on the reason for voting absentee if you have a history of absentee voting. The absentee ballot applications must turned in no later than the fifth day before the election.

If the absentee ballot application is approved, the absentee election manager forwards the absentee ballot by U.S. Mail, or personally hands the absentee ballot to the voter (or to a designee in the case of emergency voting).

Ballot Receipt/Return

The absentee ballot can not be counted unless the affidavit is notarized or has the signatures of two witnesses.

The absentee ballot comes with three envelopes: one plain (the secrecy envelope), one with an affidavit or oath, printed on the outside, and one plain envelope, preaddressed (the outer envelope). Once you cast the ballot, the procedure is as follows:

  • Seal the ballot in the plain envelope
  • Place the plain envelope inside the accompanying affidavit envelope
  • Seal the affidavit envelope and complete the affidavit that is on the outside of the envelope
  • Sign the affidavit and have the signature witnessed by either a notary public or two witnesses 18 years of age or older
  • Place the affidavit envelope AND a copy of voter identification inside the outer envelope
  • Remember to place a copy of your I.D. (NOT THE ORIGINAL) inside the outer envelope

Two legal ways to return the absentee ballot:

  • By U.S. mail
  • Personally hands the absentee ballot to the absentee election manager (or delivers by a designee in case of emergency absentee voting)

Absentee Ballot Return Deadline

Absentee ballot that is returned by mail must be postmarked no later than the day prior to the election and received by the Absentee Election Manager no later than noon on election day. If it is hand delivered, the ballot must be in the office of the Absentee Election Manager by the close of business (no later than 5 pm) on the day prior to the election.

Overseas citizens and U.S. military personnel can register to vote and request an absentee ballot at the Overseas Vote Foundation.


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