House committee advances ban on curbside voting
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A legislative committee on Wednesday advanced a bill to forbid curbside voting in Alabama, a voting method that civil rights organizations had sought during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bill by Republican Rep. Wes Allen of Troy would explicitly 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 House Constitution and Elections Committee voted to send the bill to the House floor for more debate.
“This bill is meant to protect the integrity of the election,” Allen said.
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.
Democratic Rep. Adline Clarke of Mobile, who voted against the bill, said she was concerned the bill eliminates a potential avenue for elected officials to accommodate people with disabilities.
The committee had been scheduled to take up a bill that would allow no-excuse absentee voting in the state. Democratic Rep. Laura Hall, the bill’s sponsor, asked that it be delayed. Some Republicans have expressed opposition to the bill.