MONTGOMERY - Governor Kay Ivey has announced the Primary Runoff Election will be held on July 14, 2020 due to concerns surrounding the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. It was originally scheduled for March 31.
“Exercising my extraordinary powers under the Emergency Management Act, I am setting Alabama’s Primary Runoff Election for July 14, 2020,” said Ivey. “The ability to hold free and fair elections is an inherent right as citizens of the United States and the great State of Alabama, but the safety and well-being of Alabama citizens is paramount.
“Our State Health Officer, Dr. Scott Harris, is recommending that we should practice social distancing and refrain from public gatherings of more than 25 individuals. Maintaining a 6-foot distance between one another is paramount. This guidance alone would be making an election day a hotbed for spreading the virus.
“Persons who are 65 years or older, as well as those with previous heart and lung diseases are more vulnerable to the Coronavirus. Knowing the average age of our faithful poll workers qualifies them to be most at-risk adds the necessity to extend the election runoff date.
“Delaying the election to July 14 is not a decision I came to lightly, but one of careful consideration. I appreciate the guidance of Attorney General Steve Marshall and Secretary of State John H. Merrill for their collaboration to ensure the continuity of our state government.”
On Tuesday, Marshall issued an emergency ruling declaring Governor Ivey had the authority to delay the runoff under the State of Emergency declaration.
“Governor Ivey has the legal authority under the Alabama Emergency Management Act to declare a state of emergency as a result of the current pandemic,” says Marshall. “Accordingly, she also has the lawful ability to postpone a primary runoff election to protect public health and safety during the state of emergency.”
Upon the governor’s issuance of the amended State of Emergency proclamation rescheduling the Primary Runoff Election to be held on July 14, the Secretary of State shall give notice and provide the amended Administrative Calendar, via certified mail and email to all applicable election officials.
“I am grateful to Governor Ivey and General Marshall for their proactive leadership, sincere dedication and spirit of teamwork displayed during these trying times,” said Secretary of State John H. Merrill. “It is critical that we provide a safe and secure environment for all 3,585,209 voters in the State of Alabama to participate in the electoral process.”
The Secretary of State is encouraging anyone who is concerned about contracting the virus or spreading the illness may vote by absentee. For information regarding voter registration, locating a polling place, or how to obtain an absentee ballot, please contact the Secretary of State’s website.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.