Last revised: June 2, 2023.
When you cast your ballot, you will contribute to the centuries-old struggle for justice and equality in the U.S. and push forward for representation and policy that reflects your needs and interests. Through the “Our Future, Our Vote” initiative, the Southern Poverty Law Center is committed to ensuring you can do so.
This voting guide for the state of Alabama includes information on how to manage changes to state law and provides resources for more help if you need it.
In this Guide
- Key Dates
- Before Election Day
- Election Day
- Voting If You Have Been Impacted by the Justice System
- Know Your Rights
What are the key voting dates and deadlines for the Aug. 22 municipal elections in Montgomery and Talladega?
- Online voter registration deadline: Aug. 7, 2023.
- In-person voter registration deadline: Aug. 7.
- Register by mail deadline: Must be postmarked by Aug. 7.
- Deadline to request an absentee ballot by mail: Must be received in the office of the absentee election manager for your county no later than Aug. 15.
- Deadline to request an absentee ballot by hand delivery: Must be received in the office of the absentee election manager for your county no later than Aug. 17.
- Deadline to return an absentee ballot by hand: Must be received in the office of the absentee election manager for your county by the close of business (but no later than 5 p.m.) on Aug. 21.
- Deadline to return an absentee ballot by mail: Must be received by the office of the absentee election manager for your county by noon on Aug. 22.
- General election: Aug. 22, 2023.
Before Election Day
Who can register to vote?
Every U.S. citizen with the following qualifications is eligible to register to vote in Alabama:
- A resident of Alabama.
- At least 18 years old (or will be 18 by the date of the next general election).
- Not declared mentally incompetent by a court.
- Are not barred from voting because of a disenfranchising crime (see “Voting If You Have Been Impacted by the Justice System” below).
Where can I register to vote?
- By mail
- You may request a registration form be mailed to you at the Alabama Secretary of State website.
- Mail-in forms also are available at probate judge and license commissioner offices, colleges, universities, public schools or libraries.
- A mail-in registration form also may be obtained by calling your county board of registrars or the Elections Division in the Office of the Secretary of State at 1-800-274-VOTE (8683).
- In person
- At Department of Motor Vehicle locations when applying for or renewing a state of Alabama driver’s license or nondriver identification card.
- At state and local government offices when applying or recertifying for Aid to Dependent Children, SNAP, TANF, food stamps, WIC, Medicaid or Rehabilitation Services.
- At armed forces recruiting stations.
- At the board of registrars in your county.
How do I update my registration if I have changed my name or address?
- To update your registration online, you should use the same links provided above for registering to vote.
- To update your registration by mail or in person, you should visit one of the locations provided above for registering to vote.
Can I vote early?
Alabama does not offer an early voting period. If you will be unable to vote in person on Election Day, you should request an absentee ballot.
Can I vote absentee?
You may cast an absentee ballot if you:
- Expect to be absent from the county on Election Day.
- Are ill or have a physical disability that prevents a trip to the polling place.
- Are living outside your home county, including but not limited to members of the armed forces or a spouse or dependent of such a person; a U.S. citizen residing overseas; or students at a college or university outside their county of residence.
- Are an appointed election officer or poll watcher at a polling place other than your own.
- Expect to work a required shift that has at least 10 hours that coincide with polling hours.
- Are a caregiver for a family member to the second degree of kinship and the family member is confined to their home.
- Are incarcerated in prison/jail and have not been convicted of a disenfranchising crime (see “Voting If You Have Been Impacted by the Justice System” below).
How do I vote by absentee ballot?
- To vote by absentee ballot, first complete an absentee ballot application for your county of residence, which is available at the Alabama Secretary of State website.
- Submit the absentee ballot application to your absentee election manager. You can find your absentee election manager here.
- When your absentee ballot arrives, read it carefully and follow the online instructions to complete it and return it. You must either mail your absentee ballot to the mailing address provided for your county or hand deliver your absentee ballot to the physical address provided for your county at the above link. Alabama does not provide drop boxes for absentee ballots.
Can I vote by mail?
Voting by absentee ballot (see above) is the only way to vote by mail. You may vote by absentee ballot if you meet one of the above criteria for casting an absentee ballot and follow the above procedure.
When are polling places open?
Alabama polling places are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day. Any voter who has “identified” themselves with the election officials at the polling place or is waiting “within the voting room” by closing time has the right to stay to vote.
Where do I vote?
You can check your polling place at Alabama’s voter portal page.
Polling locations can change, so you may want to verify before leaving the house.
Don’t forget your photo ID!
You need to bring one of these forms of photo ID with you to the polling place to vote:
- Valid driver’s license (not expired or has been expired less than 60 days).
- Alabama Law Enforcement Agency digital driver’s license.
- Valid nondriver ID (not expired or has been expired less than 60 days).
- Alabama Law Enforcement Agency digital nondriver ID.
- Valid Alabama photo voter ID.
- Valid state-issued ID (Alabama or any other state).
- Valid Alabama Department of Corrections Release – Temporary ID (photo required).
- Valid Alabama Movement/Booking Sheet from Prison/Jail System (photo required).
- Valid pistol permit (photo required).
- Valid federal-issued ID.
- Valid U.S. passport.
- Valid employee ID from the federal government, state of Alabama, a county government, municipality, board, authority or other entity of the state.
- Valid student or employee ID from a public or private college or university in Alabama, or a public college or university in any other state (including postgraduate technical or professional schools).
- Valid military ID.
- Valid tribal ID.
When should I use a provisional ballot?
You have the right to cast a provisional ballot if a poll worker tells you they cannot establish your eligibility to vote (e.g., your name does not appear on their voter registration list), but you believe you registered and are eligible to vote. The poll worker should offer you the opportunity to vote by provisional ballot, but if they do not, you have a legal right to request one. Federal law guarantees all voters the right to vote by provisional ballot. Before completing your provisional ballot, be sure to verify with the poll worker that you are in the correct polling place that corresponds to your home address, even if you are not listed in the poll book.
In Alabama, if you do not present an acceptable form of photo ID, you are entitled to cast a provisional ballot. To make sure it counts, you have until 5 p.m. on the Friday after the election to submit an acceptable form of photo ID to the board of registrars.
Voting If You Have Been Impacted by the Justice System
Can I vote from jail or prison?
People who have not been convicted of one of these offenses are eligible to vote while in prison or jail. They can do so if their jail or prison hosts a polling place or else by requesting an absentee ballot (see “How do I vote by absentee ballot?” above).
Can I vote if I am a returning citizen?
You may register to vote if you have not been convicted of an offense listed here.
For all listed offenses other than treason and impeachment, there is a procedure for the restoration of voting rights. Some offenses require a pardon for voting rights to be restored. Those offenses are listed in the red box here.
Other offenses do not require a pardon but require that you have no pending criminal charges; completed the full sentence, parole/probation, or been pardoned; and paid all fines, fees and restitution ordered at the time of the sentence; and then you are required to apply for a certificate of eligibility to register to vote (CERV). The offenses eligible for a CERV application after the above conditions have been met are in the yellow box here. The CERV application procedure is available here on Page 2.
Know Your Rights
What if I would like assistance to vote?
All polling places must be accessible to elderly individuals and individuals with disabilities. In federal elections, each polling place must have an accessible voting system that allows people with disabilities to vote privately and independently, using assistive technology or equipment. In Alabama, if you have a physical disability or are over the age of 70, a poll worker should bring you to the front of the line on your request. If your specific disability is not accommodated, please contact your county’s probate judge or the secretary of state.
In addition, under the federal Voting Rights Act, “Any voter who requires assistance to vote by reason of blindness, disability, or inability to read or write may be given assistance by a person of the voter’s choice, other than the voter’s employer or agent of that employer or officer or agent of the voter’s union.” This federal law applies to all elections in all states and supersedes any state law. No proof of disability, illiteracy or limited English proficiency is required.
Can I assist other voters?
Yes, unless you are one of the following:
- Voter’s employer or agent of the employer.
- Officer or agent of the voter’s union.
Are voting materials available in languages other than English?
Alabama is not currently required by federal law to provide voting material in languages other than English. However, if you need assistance in voting because you have trouble reading or writing in English, you may receive assistance from a person of your choice. (See “What if I would like assistance to vote?” above.)
What if I witness or experience voter intimidation?
Voter intimidation is conduct intended to compel prospective voters to vote against their preferences, or to not vote at all, through activity that is reasonably calculated to instill fear.
Federal law expressly prohibits voter intimidation. Alabama law also expressly prohibits voter intimidation.
The following conduct near polling places is likely illegal voter intimidation:
- Violent behavior or verbal threats inside or outside the polling place.
- Confronting voters while wearing military-style or official-looking uniforms.
- Displaying firearms.
- Disrupting voting lines or blocking the entrance to the polling place.
- Following voters to, from or within the polling place.
- Spreading false information about voter fraud, voting requirements, or related criminal penalties.
- Aggressively approaching voters’ vehicles or writing down voters’ license plate numbers.
- Harassing voters, including aggressively questioning them about their qualifications to vote.
If you see or experience voter intimidation, you should notify the poll workers at the affected polling place; document what happened and whether any voters were deterred from voting; and call the Election Protection hotlines listed below.
What if I have further questions or experience any problems while trying to vote?
You may call the Election Protection hotlines:
For further information on voting, visit the Elections Division of the Secretary of State’s Office.
Tell Us Your Voting Story
We want to hear what you experienced with registering, verifying or changing your information, absentee ballots, voting, or any other situation you’ve encountered while trying to participate in your local, state, or federal elections. Share your story:
Illustrations by Elias Stein