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Voters in line can’t be turned away when polls close, SPLC advises

“It is imperative for voters to remember that if they are in line before voting closes, they have the right to remain in line and cast their ballots,” said Nancy Abudu, deputy legal director for the SPLC.

(STOCK)

Anticipating long lines at polls around the state, the Southern Poverty Law Center is reminding Alabamians that the law gives them certain guarantees.

“It is imperative for voters to remember that if they are in line before voting closes, they have the right to remain in line and cast their ballots. They cannot be turned away,” said Nancy Abudu, deputy legal director for the SPLC.

She encouraged every eligible voter to cast a ballot and said that anyone experiencing a problem or any form of intimidation should call the election protection hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE.

“Alabama is the birthplace of the fight for equal voting rights, but the state — even amidst a pandemic — has failed to make the process of voting as accessible and as easy as possible to voters,” Abudu said. “Expanded early voting opportunities and strengthened mail-in voting programs without onerous demands on voters explain why our neighbors around the South report high percentages of registered voters having already voted. We cannot say the same.”

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill has said that the state’s voting laws are adequate to accommodate all of its 3.7 million voters. He has characterized claims of voter suppression as disconnected from reality. 

The SPLC successfully challenged several restrictions in court, arguing that they presented obstacles that disproportionately disadvantaged disabled, poor and minority voters, but each decision was reversed on appeal. The organization’s bid for curbside voting was rejected in a 5-3 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Micah Danney
Written By

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

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