MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Wednesday signed legislation to ban curbside voting in the state.
Ivey’s office announced she signed the bill by Republican Rep. Wes Allen of Troy that would forbid election workers from setting up curbside areas for people to vote as well as forbid the setting up of voting machines outside a polling place.
The action codifies the view held by Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill who argued in a court case last year that existing state law did not allow curbside voting.
“Since taking office, we have always prioritized securing the chain of ballot custody. By keeping the ballot in the hands of the voter, we ensure each vote is counted accurately, honestly, and independently from any poll worker or third party,” Merrill said in a statement.
Civil rights groups representing a group of voters with health concerns last year sued Alabama seeking more option for voting during the COVID-19 pandemic. A federal judge ruled that curbside voting should be allowed, but the U.S. Supreme Court sided with the state.
Legislative debate on the bill mirrored partisan debate across the country as Democrats urged expanded voting access and Republicans sought restrictions in the name of ballot security. The GOP-dominated Legislature approved the curbside voting ban while a Democratic-sponsored bill that would expand absentee voting did not get out of committee.