Alabama travel nurse struggling to get absentee ballot counted before election

Alabama News

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Thursday was the last day for voters to participate in absentee voting.

Many people have waited in long lines to fill out their ballots for the upcoming election, but some people are still struggling to receive theirs.

Melanie Dozier, a travel nurse based in Durham, North Carolina, is from Birmingham, Alabama. She said the process to get her ballot by mail has been a terrible experience.

“It’s been a struggle,” Dozier said.

A nurse based in another state, Dozier sad she can’t take time off work to vote in person.

“That’s not an option on a nurse’s schedule during this pandemic,” she said.

She and her friend applied for the absentee ballot in September and were approved the next month. However, Dozier was told there is no telling when her ballot will arrive.

“Ballots were taking 16-20 days to get to residents within the city limits of Birmingham,” she said.

Dozier said she’s spent weeks calling to get to the bottom of the issue.

“When I called the Secretary of State’s Office I was informed it would be a miracle if I was able to vote in the election,” she said.

Dozier claims her exchanges with Jefferson County workers have been unpleasant.

According to Dozier, a worker told her, “Look at it this way, your vote isn’t going to flip the state blue due to the electoral college, so it doesn’t really matter.”

“I informed her it wasn’t just a presidential election I’m worried about. It’s also the Senate race and all the down-the -ballot races, to which I was informed…I wouldn’t need to worry about those either,” Dozier said.

Dozier said Absentee Ballot Manager Jackie Smith, along with other elected officials, are doing everything they can to figure out a way for her vote to count. Unfortunately, she said it’s not looking like her ballot will get in on time.

“[I’ve spent] hours upon hours on the phone since September to try to get our votes counted,” she said.

After her ordeal, Dozier hopes sharing her experience will spark change in the process for absentee ballot voting.

“Some things just need to change, and some things are just falling through the cracks. But I’m trying to stay positive,” she said.

As of Thursday, Calls to Smith were not returned.


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