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July 29, 2013
Alabama First Congressional District Special Election - Military and Overseas Citizens Voting Changes

MONTGOMERY, Ala.-- As ordered by U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson, the Secretary of State’s Office will assume responsibility for transmitting, receiving, and counting ballots for all UOCAVA voters for the 2013 special Congressional election in Alabama’s first Congressional district. As a result, military and overseas citizens will submit their absentee ballot requests directly to the Secretary of State for this election.

Dates for this special election are as follows: Primary Election, September 24, 2013; Primary Runoff, November 5, 2013; and General Election, December 17, 2013.

Due to the short time frame for this election, military and overseas voters will be allowed to vote what is called an "Instant Primary Ballot." The Instant Primary Ballot will allow UOCAVA voters to rank all candidates from one political party in the special primary election in order of preference. In the special primary election, each validly cast vote will be counted for the first choice candidate. In the event of a special primary run-off election between candidates, each validly cast vote will be counted for whichever of the run-off candidates is ranked higher on the ballot.

In addition to the Instant Primary Ballot, voters will also receive the standard primary runoff ballot, which is the ballot provided all non-UOCAVA voters in the first Congressional District. This ballot will be mailed or electronically transmitted, in accordance with the voter’s preference, to all UOCAVA voters from Alabama’s first Congressional District (with pending valid requests for such ballots) after certification of the special primary election results. UOCAVA voters outside of the United States who have requested to receive their ballots by mail will have their Standard Primary Runoff Ballot sent by express mail and will be provided with a pre-paid express mail envelope to return this ballot. UOCAVA voters who did not vote in the special primary election will be able to use this ballot to exercise their right to vote in the special primary runoff. UOCAVA voters who did submit the Instant Primary Ballot may change their votes by voting on the Standard Primary Runoff Ballot, which will supersede the Instant Primary Ballot upon timely receipt. UOCAVA voters who submitted an Instant Primary Ballot and do not wish to change their choice need not submit a Standard Primary Runoff Ballot; their votes will be tabulated according to the preferences ranked on the Instant Primary Ballot.

Similar to the Instant Primary Ballot, UOCAVA voters will also be given a "Special General Ballot." The Special General Ballot will contain the names of the candidates certified for the special primary runoff election and the names of any qualified independent or third party candidates. The purpose of the Special General Ballot is to provide UOCAVA voters with a ballot that can be transmitted at least 45 days in advance of the special general election, even though candidates must still be finalized following the certification of the results of the special primary runoff. The Special General Ballot will also be supplemented by the standard general election ballot used by all non-UOCAVA voters in the first Congressional District which will be mailed or electronically transmitted, in accordance with the voter’s preference, to all UOCAVA voters upon certification of the special primary runoff election results.

"These changes were made in order to give our military and overseas voters enough time to vote in this upcoming special election," said Secretary of State Beth Chapman. "We are providing more resources in order to make this a reality. We will continue to do everything we can to make sure every voter who wishes to cast their ballot is able to do so."

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For more information, visit Secretary of State Jim Bennett’s Web Site:  http://www.sos.alabama.gov/