Friday, the Mobile County Democratic Executive Committee released a statement calling for easier voting ahead of the July 14 party runoff elections and looking ahead to the November 3 general election.
“The Mobile County Democratic Executive Committee joins the Mobile City Council and our local legislators in calling for simpler, safer voting, for which no excuse absentee voting is a first step. In the midst of a pandemic, no one should have to choose between their health and their constitutional right to vote. In the midst of a wave of protests over the Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd incidents, it has never been more important to ensure that every voice is heard. No right is more sacred in American democracy than the right to vote. Hiding behind outdated and ill-intentioned laws to deny that right is against everything this nation stands for. It is time for Alabama to hear the voices of its citizens and show recognition of their need to cast their ballots simply and safely.”
Mobile County has been at the epicenter of the coronavirus crisis in Alabama. To this point, the state of Alabama has had 21,626 diagnosed coronavirus cases. Of those known cases, 2,545 are in Mobile. The state of Alabama has had 739 COVID-19 deaths. 127 of those people who perished in the global pandemic were Mobilians. No Alabama county has been hit harder by the coronavirus than Mobile. The county leads the state both in the number of diagnosed cases and the number of COVID-19 deaths.
The whole state is witnessing something of a surge in coronavirus cases. The state of Alabama reopened the economy faster than most states, many Alabamians ignored the Safer at Home warnings and went on vacation over the Memorial Day Weekend, and then there were mass protests across much of Alabama in response to the tragic death of George Floyd by the Minneapolis Police Department. All of this extra movement and mixing without proper social distancing may have contributed to an increase in the transmission of the novel strain of the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.
“I think when you see your deaths going up and your hospitalizations going up, that’s worrisome, and that’s not affected by your level of testing,” said State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris.
The state is still under a Safer at Home order. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) has told citizens that if you don’t have to leave your home, then don’t leave your home, although too many people seem to be ignoring that advice.
People do have to go out to vote on July 14 in the party runoff elections, unless they vote absentee ballot. Mobile is in the First Congressional District. There in the Democratic Party primary runoff Kiani Gardner and James Averhart are both running for the Democratic nomination. The seat is open because incumbent Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose) did not run for re-election. Former State Senator Bill Hightower and Mobile County Commissioner Jerry Carl are running in the Republican Party primary runoff election.
Some have expressed fears that voting may be a health risk given the growing threat of the coronavirus in the state. There are fears that voting could spread the virus and there are fears that the fear of contracting the virus could effectively suppress people from voting both on July 14 and November 3. 555 more Alabamians were diagnosed with the virus on Thursday. Alabama does not have online voting or multi-day voting.