Due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19, Secretary of State John H. Merrill announced Monday the deadline to officially apply for and cast an absentee ballot for the upcoming municipal elections has been extended.

For the upcoming Aug. 25 municipal elections, the deadline to register to vote is Monday, Aug. 10; the deadline to submit an absentee ballot application is Thursday, Aug. 20; and the deadline to hand-deliver an absentee ballot is the close of business Monday, Aug. 24. If an absentee ballot is returned by mail, it must be postmarked by Aug. 24 and received by noon on Aug. 25.

At the request of the Alabama League of Municipalities on behalf of all Alabama municipalities scheduled to hold an election in 2020, Merrill has authorized anyone concerned about contracting or spreading COVID-19 to cast an absentee ballot in order to avoid the polls on Election Day.

Any qualified voter who finds it is impossible or unreasonable to vote in person at his or her polling place will be eligible to check the box on the absentee ballot application that is most applicable. Alabama law allows the secretary of state to issue absentee voting guidance during declared states of emergency, allowing voters to check the box which reads as follows, which reads as follows (in the case none of the boxes are appropriate): “I have a physical illness or infirmity which prevents my attendance at the polls. (ID required)”

“We appreciate the secretary of state’s office collaborating with ALM to address these extraordinary circumstances as we head into municipal elections,” League of Municipalities executive director Greg Cochran said. “Ensuring all Alabamians have a voice through their vote is imperative to the success of our state.”

If required, runoff elections will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 6.