Absentee Voting

ABSENTEE VOTING ELIGIBILITY

A voter may cast an absentee ballot if he or she
  • EXPECTS TO BE ABSENT FROM THE COUNTY on election day
  • IS ILL OR HAS A PHYSICAL DISABILITY that prevents a trip to the polling place
  • IS A REGISTERED ALABAMA VOTER LIVING OUTSIDE THE COUNTY, such as a member of the armed forces, a voter employed outside the United States, a college student, or a spouse or child of such a person
  • IS AN APPOINTED ELECTION OFFICER OR POLL WATCHER at a polling place other than his or her regular polling place
  • EXPECTS TO WORK A REQUIRED SHIFT, 10-HOURS OR MORE, that coincides with polling hours
  • IS A CAREGIVER for a family member to the second degree of kinship by affinity or consanguinity and the family member is confined to his or her home
  • IS CURRENTLY INCARCERATED in prison or jail and has not been convicted of a felony involving moral turpitude
  • COVID-19 – If your reason for voting absentee is due to concerns of contracting or spreading COVID-19, the appropriate box to check is: “I have a physical illness or infirmity which prevents my attendance at the polls”.

REQUESTING AN ABSENTEE BALLOT

In order to vote absentee, a voter must complete an Absentee Ballot Application. A voter may obtain an Absentee Ballot Application in any of the following ways:

  • IN PERSON
    • Visit the Shelby County Absentee Voting Office, located in the Shelby County Exhibition Center located at 86 Argo Road, Columbiana, Alabama 35051. Hours of Operation are 8:00a.m. to 4:30p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • BY INTERNET 
  • BY PHONE
    • Call (205)610-0958 and request that an Absentee Ballot Application be mailed to you.  

THE DEADLINE TO SUBMIT AN ABSENTEE BALLOT APPLICATION IS THE 5th CALENDAR DAY PRIOR TO THE ELECTION.

EMERGENCY ABSENTEE BALLOT APPLICATIONS

Emergency Absentee Ballot Applications can be requested after the regular absentee deadline but must be before 5:00 p.m. on the day before the election if the voter: 
  • is required by an employer under unforeseen circumstances to be unavailable at the polls on the day of the election
  • is a caregiver of a person who requires emergency treatment by licensed physician within five days before an election
  • has a family member to the second degree of kinship by affinity or consanguinity die within five days before an election
  • You may download an Application for Emergency Absentee Ballot.

MEDICAL EMERGENCY ABSENTEE VOTING

Applications can be made by a voter who has a medical emergency requiring treatment from a licensed physician within 5 days of an election.  During that 5 day period, the medical emergency absentee ballot application and the voted absentee ballot must be returned no later than noon on the day the election is held. The medical emergency absentee ballot application requires that the attending physician describe and certify the circumstances as constituting an emergency.  The voter may designate someone to turn in the medical emergency absentee ballot application, receive the absentee ballot on behalf of the voter, and return the voted absentee ballot to the Absentee Election Manager on behalf of the voter.

RETURNING AN ABSENTEE BALLOT OR APPLICATION

Absentee Ballot Applications and Voted Absentee Ballots may be returned either in person by the person whose name appears on such materials OR by mail.

  • BY MAIL
    Absentee Ballot Applications and Voted Absentee Ballots may be mailed to:
    • Absentee Election Manager
      P. O. Box 1036
      Columbiana, Alabama 35051

    **** NOTE - Absentee Ballot Applications and Voted Ballots returned by mail are only be accepted if returned ONE per envelope. ****

  • IN PERSON
    Absentee Ballot Applications and Voted Absentee Ballots may be returned by hand delivery to:
    • The Shelby County Exhibition Center
      86 Argo Rd.
      Columbiana, Alabama 35051

    **** NOTE – Only the voter him/herself may return the Absentee Ballot Application and Voted Absentee Ballot.  The Absentee Election Manager will require the voter to present an acceptable form of identification. ****

ABSENTEE BALLOT PROCEDURE

The absentee ballot comes with 3 envelopes -- one plain (the secrecy envelope), one with an affidavit, or oath, printed on the outside, and one plain pre-addressed envelope, (the outer envelope). Once the voter casts the ballot, the procedure is as follows:
  • Seal the ballot in the plain envelope
  • Place the plain envelope inside the accompanying affidavit envelope
  • Seal the affidavit envelope and complete the affidavit that is on the outside of the envelope
  • Sign the affidavit and have the signature witnessed by either a notary public or two witnesses 18 years of age or older

WITNESSES OR NOTARIZATION

An absentee ballot cannot be counted unless the affidavit is notarized or has the signatures of two witnesses.

The voter has only the following legal ways to return the absentee ballot:

  • forwards the absentee ballot by U.S. Mail
  • forwards the absentee ballot by commercial carrier
  • personally hands their own absentee ballot to the absentee election manager (or delivers by a designee in the case of emergency absentee voting)

VOTING DEADLINE

An absentee ballot returned by mail must be postmarked no later than the day prior to the election and received by the Absentee Election Manager no later than noon on Election Day. If hand-delivered, the ballot must be in the office of the Absentee Election Manager by the close of business (but no later than 5 p.m.) on the day prior to the election.