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SPLC Responds to 11th Circuit Decision in Alabama COVID-19 Voting Case

Absentee ballot witness and photo ID requirements put back in place, but curbside voting still available to Alabama counties that seek to implement it at polling sites

ATLANTA — The following statement regarding today's United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit split decision in People First of Alabama v. John Merrill is by Caren Short, senior staff attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center: 

“While today’s appeals court decision still gives Alabama counties the ability to institute curbside voting processes in the 3 weeks until Election Day, it’s unfortunate the decision also put back into place the unnecessary absentee ballot requirements that burden high-risk voters and add no additional protection to the integrity of Alabama’s elections. Expert testimony and a voluminous record entered into evidence during a 10-day trial last month made clear why the state’s ban on curbside voting and onerous absentee ballot requirements represent unconstitutional barriers to voting for medically vulnerable Alabamians during an ongoing pandemic. 

“We know that Alabama voters— particularly Black voters —have and will overcome countless barriers to cast their ballot, and we encourage them to do so as safely as possible.”