Gov. Kay Ivey today announced Alabama’s primary runoff election will be held July 14 because of concerns surrounding the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
“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,” Ivey said.
“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 Ivey had the authority to delay the runoff under the State of Emergency declaration.
Merrill said, “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 to vote by absentee ballot. For information regarding voter registration, locating a polling place or how to obtain an absentee ballot, please contact the Secretary of State’s website.
Exercising my powers under the Emergency Management Act, I’m setting AL’s Primary Runoff Election for July 14. The ability to hold free & fair elections is an inherent right as American citizens, but the safety & wellbeing of AL citizens is paramount. https://t.co/VojkQzIGCV pic.twitter.com/D5bz0jWF2C
— Governor Kay Ivey (@GovernorKayIvey) March 18, 2020