On Wednesday, Gov. Kay Ivey announced that the March 31 runoff election in Alabama has been postponed until July 14 due to the concerns surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Delaying the election to July 14 is not a decision I came to lightly, but one of careful consideration,” said Ivey. “I appreciate the guidance of Attorney General Steve Marshall and Secretary of State John Merrill for their collaboration to ensure the continuity of our state government.”
Marshall and Merrill joined Ivey in a press conference announcing the postponement.
A day before, Marshall issued an emergency ruling declaring Ivey had the authority to delay the runoff under the state of emergency declaration.
“Gov. Ivey has the legal authority under the Alabama Emergency Management Act to declare a state of emergency as a result of the current pandemic,” said Marshall. “Accordingly, she also has the lawful ability to postpone a primary runoff election to protect public health and safety during the state of emergency.”
In Jackson County, one local race in the Republican Primary will be affected. A.J Buckner and Mark Guffey are on the ballot for County Commission, District 3. Statewide, Jeff Sessions and Tommy Tuberville are in the runoff for United States Senate.
Probate Judge Victor Manning, part of the county’s election committee with Sheriff Chuck Phillips and Circuit Clerk Bart Buchanan, said he was in agreement with the postponement.
“I think it’s a good thing,” said Manning. “We’ve had a number of people say they didn’t feel safe working the election.”
Merrill said postponing the election until July 14 continues Alabama’s practice of providing free and fair elections that do not compromise the safety and health of voters, poll workers and anyone else who may be involved with the election process.
“This new date will allow the electoral process to continue in a normal manner,” said Merrill. “This delay will allow all local elections the time to assess and evaluate the changes that must be made to ensure the runoff election is administered according to play.”
Merrill said eligible Alabamians may continue to register to vote in the runoff election until Monday, June 29. Absentee ballot applications that have already been successfully submitted will be valid for the July 14 runoff election.
All absentee ballot applications must be received by the close of business on Thursday, July 9. If delivered by hand, absentee ballots must be received by the Absentee Election Manager by the close of business Monday, July 13. If returning by mail, the last day to postmark an absentee ballot is Monday, July 13.
Voters eligible to vote pursuant to the Uniformed and Overseas Absentee Voting Act will have until Tuesday, July 14 to postmark an absentee ballot.