The Alabama Democratic Party has joined Secretary of State John Merrill in exploring a brief postponement of the March 31 primary runoff election due to the current situation involving the Coronavirus. It is a prudent course of action in this one specific circumstance. Protecting the health and safety of voters, poll workers, and election officials should not be a partisan issue—nor should common sense, fundamental election reforms that make voting easier and our electoral system more modern and resilient.
The Democratic party has asked Merrill, the Alabama Republican Party, and Republican elected officials to join us in putting partisanship aside to accomplish the following goals before November 2020 and for every election moving forward:
- Pass legislation to make “no excuse” absentee voting the law, rather than a one-time exception. This includes making voting by mail available to all Alabama voters.
- Pass legislation allowing for two weeks of in-person early voting in every county.
- Convene a bipartisan panel to explore other ways to modernize our elections, increase participation, make voting more secure, and make our civic institutions more resilient to disruption, regardless of the cause or crisis.
These are not impossible reforms, nor are they rocket science. Voting should be easy. The vast majority of other states have taken these common-sense steps to ensure the resilience of their civic institutions. It’s past time for Alabama, the cradle of voting rights, to do the same.