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Attorney general says runoff election can be postponed, rescheduled


Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall issued an opinion Tuesday that Gov. Kay Ivey can reschedule the March 31 runoff election and the secretary of state can certify the results. 

Alabama’s Secretary of State John Merrill had asked for Marshall’s opinion, as the novel coronavirus continues to spread across the state, prompting concern over exposing the public at voting precincts. 

In his opinion, Marshall writes that when Gov. Kay Ivey declared a state of emergency on March 13 she acquired “substantial powers” and “has the authority to postpone a primary runoff election to protect the public health and safety during the proclaimed emergency.” 

“Should the Governor exercise her authority to postpone the primary runoff election, any existing law setting a contrary date for the primary runoff election would be suspended by the AEMA,” Marshall said, referring to the Alabama Emergency Management Act. 

“As the state’s chief election official, you have acknowledged that the primary should likely not be postponed beyond July 14, 2020, to avoid interference with the general election in November,” Marshall’s opinion continues. “We concur with this conclusion and agree that the election should likely not be postponed beyond this date unless the proclaimed emergency persists.”

Eddie Burkhalter
Written By

Eddie Burkhalter is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or reach him via Twitter.



Secretary of State John Merrill supports the bill, which would allow qualified voters to vote absentee without an excuse.


"We firmly believe the authority to legislate and regulate these changes should be left with the states," the secretaries wrote.


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