MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — On Wednesday, Gov. Kay Ivey, Secretary of State John Merrill and Attorney General Steve Marshall held a press conference announcing the Senate runoff election will be postponed to from March 31 to July 14 due to COVID-19.
Ivey said she knows during the time of the election, which will be held between former Sen. Jeff Sessions and former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville for the Republican nomination, many elderly people take the time to volunteer at the polls and she wants to make sure she is keeping them safe from the virus.
During the press conference, Ivey said that she used her executive authority through emergency declaration from her office. She said she and her team came to the decision to reschedule out of precautions for social distancing. Ivey also says absentee ballots will be mailed out starting March 18.
Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, Merrill had sought an emergency opinion from the Attorney General Steve on whether or not to postpone the Alabama U.S. Senate runoff election. In Marshall’s opinion, he wrote that because Ivey had declared a state of emergency for Alabama amid the virus, she had the authority to reschedule a runoff election if she so chose, in accordance with the Alabama Emergency Management Act of 1955.
On the note of absentee ballots, Merrill announced that in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, absentee ballots will be made available to all voters who want them. He said he will send out more details regarding this later Wednesday. Voters can fill out their application for absentee voting here.
According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, there are now 46 confirmed coronavirus cases in the state and 23 cases in Jefferson County.
Following the press conference, Sessions released a statement, agreeing that the health of Alabama residents must be considered a priority.
Sessions held a press conference in Mobile after the announcement.
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