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Poll shows Alabama voters want in-person and absentee options in November election

By TODD STACY, Alabama Daily News

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – A new poll from one of President Donald Trump’s top survey research firms shows Alabama voters strongly support both keeping voting locations open for the November elections and making absentee ballots accessible to all voters who want them.

A survey conducted by Fabrizio, Lee & Associates on behalf of Secure Democracy, a non-profit political group which aims to educate policymakers and the public about secure and fair elections, shows a full 77% of Alabama voters believe it is important to provide alternatives to in-person voting for the 2020 election.

Another wide swath of the electorate, 69%, say they back keeping polling locations open and giving voters the option to cast absentee ballots.

ProposalTotal FavorTotal Oppose
Allowing all voters to request an absentee ballot57%41%
Sending applications for absentee ballots to all voters43%54%
Allowing voters to request an absentee ballot online through a website48%47%
Keeping polling locations open and also giving all voters the option to vote absentee69%27%
Continuing to provide in-person voting as an option for voters so long as the voting locations conform to CDC safety guidelines91%6%

In a memo to Secure Democracy, pollsters Tony Fabrizio and David Lee summarized the survey saying Alabama voters “believe every registered voter should have the chance to safely cast a ballot in November if they so choose. A significant majority supports proposals that would make absentee ballots available to every voter who wants one regardless of their circumstances. Additionally, they believe it is important that the federal government provide additional funding to help cover the increased costs of holding an election in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic.”

ProposalTotal FavorTotal Oppose
Keeping polling locations open and also giving all voters the option to vote absentee69%27%
Counting absentee ballots that are post-marked by Election Day66%29%
Requiring signature matching rather than a notary public60%33%
Letting voters track the progress and status of their absentee ballot through a secure website60%34%
Having local election officials notify voters if they forget to sign their absentee ballot envelope and giving them time to correct the mistake.58%37%
Establishing secure drop box locations for voters to drop off their absentee ballots.57%37%
Providing postage-paid return envelopes for anyone who chooses to vote by absentee56%40%

Secretary of State John Merrill this year permitted special rules allowing anyone with concerns about COVID-19 to cast their vote absentee. At least 32,563 voters cast absentee ballots on July 14, amounting to a record-breaking 5.2% of all votes cast.

Merrill last week extended those special rules through the November election and said he expects as many as 100,000 absentee votes cast when the presidential and U.S. Senate races are on the ballot.

State law requires voters to submit photocopies of their photo identification as well as sign the absentee ballot before a notary or two witnesses.

The new poll showed that three in five Alabama voters favor signature matching to verify an absentee voter’s identity rather than requiring a notary public to verify it.

A full 81% of Alabama voters believe it is important for the federal government to provide additional funding to states and counties to help cover the costs of conducting elections amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

In other interesting takeaways from the poll, more than half of those surveyed say they know someone who has contracted the coronavirus.

Asked about their typical voting habits, 82% said they vote in person on Election Day, while 14% said they vote absentee either in person or through the mail.

Fabrizio, Lee and Associates has conducted polling on behalf of President Donald Trump’s election campaign. Their Alabama poll surveyed 600 registered voters statewide on July 5-9 2020 via live telephone calls. Respondents were contacted from a randomized voter list with 70% of interviews conducted via cell phone and 30% via landline. Sample frame was stratified to represent registered voter distribution by county & DMA. Final data was weighted to reflect actual voter universe. Margin of sampling error for this survey is +/- 4.0% at the 95% confidence interval.

See full polling memo here: Secure Democracy Alabama Memo

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