House approves Alabama curbside voting ban

Published 10:09 pm Thursday, March 18, 2021

The Alabama House of Representatives on Thursday approved a ban on curbside voting, a voting method that civil rights organizations had sought during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Legislators voted 74-25 for the bill that now moves to the Alabama Senate.

The voting legislation was approved during a day of contentious debate as Republicans forced votes on some of their priority bills. The GOP-dominated House of Representatives approved the bills after cutting off a filibuster by Democrats.

The bill by Republican Rep. Wes Allen of Troy would explicitly forbid election workers from setting up curbside areas for people to cast ballots as well as forbid setting up of voting machines outside a polling place.

Supporters of the bill said it is needed to protect election integrity. Opponents argued the state is cutting off an avenue that might make it easier for elderly and disabled people to vote.

The legislation came after a court fight over the need to open up alternative methods to vote during the COVID-19 pandemic. A federal judge last year ruled that Alabama can’t prevent local election officials from offering curbside voting, but the order was later stayed by the U.S. Supreme Court.