New voting laws in effect

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 16, 2003

As you ponder your position on the new tax package being submitted for consideration by Gov. Riley on Sept. 9, there are a few more things that you will have to keep in mind before you start on your way to the polls.

Probate Judge Steve Norman said that new voting laws have been passed by the legislature that are in effect for the upcoming voting day.

The new voting identification law will have the biggest impact on area voters.

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&uot;With this new law, the provision is that voters must provide a valid identification to the appropriate election official at the voting booth, and it must be one of the types of identification listed in the law,&uot; Norman said. &uot;Those who don’t have identification will need to make sure they obtain it before they go to vote on Sept. 9.&uot;

The approved forms of identification include valid photo I.D., such as a driver’s license or military I.D.; copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter.

The term &uot;other government document&uot; may include, but is not limited to, any of the following: valid U.S. passport, valid Alabama hunting or fishing license, valid Alabama permit to carry a pistol or revolver, valid pilot’s license issued by the Federal Aviation Administration or other authorized agency of the U.S., valid military I.D., certified copy of the elector’s birth certificate, valid Social Security card, certified naturalization documentation, certified copy of court records showing adoption or name change, valid Medicaid card, Medicare card, or electronic benefits transfer card (food stamp card).

The new law also calls for voters who are voting by mail to provide a copy of the aforementioned identification when submitting their ballots.

Absentee ballot voters will not have to provide identification prior to voting.

The law states that anyone failing to provide one of the types of identification cannot be allowed to vote.

However, the law does make a provision that a person who does not have

a valid I.D. in their possession at the polls, they can be allowed to vote if two election officials can identify the voter as an individual on the poll list who is eligible to vote and the election official signs the voters list by the voter’s signature.

The other new law provides that all polls in the state of Alabama will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on voting days.