MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama lawmakers on Monday approved a ban on curbside voting, a balloting method Republicans portrayed as fundamentally unsecure, but Democrats argued would make voting easier for the elderly and others.
The Alabama Senate voted 25-6 for the bill by Republican Rep. Wes Allen of Troy that would forbid election workers from setting up curbside areas for people to vote as well as forbid the setting up of voting machines outside a polling place. The bill now goes to Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey.
The debate in the closing hours of the legislative session mirrored partisan debate across the country as Democrats urged expanded voting access and Republicans sought restrictions in the name of ballot security. The GOP-dominated Legislature approved the bill while a Democratic-sponsored bill that would expand absentee voting did not get out of committee.
“We’re not doing anything that would hinder the right to cast a vote. We’re ensuring that the vote cast is secure,” Republican Sen. Dan Roberts, R-Birmingham, said.
Democrats launched a filibuster trying to block a vote on the measure in the final hours of the legislative session, but Republicans moved to end debate and force a vote.
“Why can’t we add curbside voting? Don’t you as an American citizen want everybody who is able and registered to vote to vote,” Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, said.
Curbside voting is a voting method that civil rights organizations had sought during the COVID-19 pandemic and have argued that it would make it easier for people to vote, particularly the elderly, disabled and parents with young children.