Summer 2008 Edition
Published September 12, 2008
2008 League of Women Voters of Alabama

Off-site Voting

Purpose of Study:   The LWVAL adopted a limited study of Off-Site Voting at Convention 2007.  Since Alabama’s only method of ‘off-site voting’ is by absentee voting, the study committee naturally assumed that we would be looking at absentee voting as our primary method of off-site voting.  As we are reading articles/reports and surveying other states, we are finding out that there are many different methods of voting prior to election day and even on Election Day! 

Definition:  For the purpose of this study, off-site voting means any voting not in person at the polling place on Election Day.  

Through the committee’s research we have found that some states not only have  Absentee voting, but some either have or are looking into other such methods as Early Voting, Advance Voting, Internet Voting, Virtual Voting, Vote by Mail, and Convenience Voting.  The definitions can be confusing.  State laws differ as to whether you have to have a reason to vote ‘off-site’.  

Below is a table from THE EARLY VOTING INFORMATION CENTER at REED COLLEGE in Portland Oregon.    http://www.earlyvoting.net/states/abslaws.php  
They also have a detailed breakdown of which states allow early and absentee by mail and in person, and also include the states’ statutes.  Oregon conducts all of its elections by mail.  All ballots are mailed to registered voters.  No one goes to the polls on Election Day.
You can check out the Alabama Secretary of State’s website for the latest concerning Alabama’s absentee voting (Perry County had almost a 50% turnout of registered voters in the 2008 General Primary Election with 26% of those voting absentee ballot) and the latest on Beth Chapman’s efforts to get online voting for military and overseas voters.  Attorney General Troy King is looking into allegations of voter fraud and voter irregularities in several Alabama counties. 

Other interesting websites on this study topic:

The study committee will complete this limited study by early fall and will send more information and consensus questions to the local leagues.  This discussion topic promises to be both lively and timely!

Sandy Robinson,
Off-Site Voting Study Chair

Fast Facts
  • 31 states allow no-excuse pre-election day in-person voting - either early voting on a voting machine or in-person absentee voting.
  • 4 states and the District of Columbia require an excuse for in-person absentee voting
  • 1 state is all vote-by mail
  • 16 states do not allow early or in-person absentee voting
  • 28 states allow no-excuse absentee voting by mail
  • 22 states and the District of Columbia require an excuse to vote absentee by mail
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      For further information about the
      League of Women Voters of Alabama,
      call 205 871-8194 or visit on-line at http://www.lwval.org.