Due to new court ruling, some absentee ballots across Alabama could be thrown out

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FILE – In this June 30, 2020, file photo, a box of absentee ballots wait to be counted at the Albany County Board of Elections in Albany, N.Y. Mail-in ballots have exploded in popularity since the pandemic spread in mid-March, at the peak of primary season.(AP Photo/Hans Pennink, File)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — A recent court ruling could leave an unknown number of absentee ballots in Alabama uncounted.

That’s because a federal court has overturned a previous ruling that allowed some voters to submit ballots without witnesses.

If you returned your ballot when Judge Abdul Kallon’s ruling was in order, then you did not have to have a notary signature, nor did you have to have the two witness signatures in order for your ballot to meet the standard of receipt.

If you submitted your ballot prior to that time between Sept. 9 and Sept. 30, or after Oct. 13 at that point, your ballot had to meet the standard of two signatures or a notary signature.

Alabama law requires an absentee ballot to have two witnesses or a notary signature. 

Now, the exception is if your ballot was postmarked on Oct. 13 and received after that date, your ballot could still meet the standard.

According to Secretary of State John Merrill, this will impact the people that try to adhere to the standard set in Kallon’s ruling. Merrill said otherwise, people would have followed the law.

“If they followed the law, they would not be in a position for their ballot authenticity to be counted,” Merrill said.

So how can people fix their ballots?

“Well, they could certainly contact the absentee election manager in their county if they submitted their ballot in a period of time that was within that window and elected not to have the signature requirements. And if they feel like it was postmarked after Oct. 13, then they could check and make sure that their ballot met the standard,” Merrill said.

How did this happen?

“Well, because of the judicial overreach and the ruling by a liberal federal court judge. This judicial activist inserted himself in the elections process when the election was already ongoing. So any questions or concerns about what occurred was outside the scope and boundary in the spirit and the letter of the law. And so that has indeed caused some confusion,” Merrill said.

Watch Reshad Hudson’s full story and interview with Merrill tonight at 6 p.m.

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