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2020 Election Countdown

Alabama breaks absentee voting record 3 weeks before Election Day

Alabama has broken its record for casting absentee ballots during an election, and three weeks remain before Election Day.

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R) said that as of Tuesday, 91,786 absentee ballots had been cast ahead of the Nov. 3 election. The previous record was 89,000 ballots cast over the course of the 2012 election cycle.

Merrill told the Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce that he expects to have more than 200,000 ballots requested by election day, according to 280 Living, likely because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Merrill said in July that any person who deems it unreasonable to vote in person because of the pandemic can check the box on their absentee ballot application that says “I have a physical illness or infirmity which prevents my attendance at the polls.”

Overall, he thinks 2.5 million to 2.8 million people will cast ballots this election, which would represent 68 percent to 75 percent of registered voters in the state.

Absentee voting and mail-in voting have become contentious issues this election cycle, as voting in person increases the likelihood of contracting the coronavirus.

President Trump has repeatedly asserted that mail-in voting would lead to widespread voter fraud, despite no evidence to support that claim. And on Wednesday, videos emerged of conservative activists discussing limiting mail-in voting and dismissing it as a ploy to help Democrats.

As of Saturday, more than 25 million ballots have been cast for the Nov. 3 general election, according to the U.S. Elections Project, which tracks early voting statistics in real time. In addition, more than 81 million ballots have been requested across the country.