The Super-Last-Minute Guide to Voting in AlabamaNovember 5, 2018
I’m not going to waste your time giving you the “please vote” spiel because you’re already getting it everywhere else. But what if you want to vote, but you’re not actually prepared to vote? Like, you don’t know who’s on the ballot or how to choose between the candidates?
I’m not going to pretend that a little bit of Googling is a substitute for staying involved in politics all year long, but I will say that it’s probably all you need to make an informed decision at the polls tomorrow. Don’t want to base all your voting decisions on whose name is funniest (Chip Beeker, imho) or most reminiscent of a sitcom character (Bob Vance, duh)? Here’s everything you’ll need to get prepared.
Find out if you’re registered to vote
Here’s a link to find out if you’re registered. You’ll need to know your name, county and birthday. (Yes, this means you can check up on other people to see if they’re registered, which I find creepy, but whatever.) If you know you’ve voted in the past, but you haven’t voted in awhile, you can still vote in Alabama, but at the polls they might ask you to fill out a form with your new address.
Where do you go to vote?
I’ve moved around Birmingham a lot, and some of my polling places have been changed, so I never remember this. Luckily, it’s very easy to find out. Here’s the link to find your polling place in Alabama. Put your name, birthday and county in here, and it tells you where to go.
What’s on the ballot?
Here’s a link to view Alabama sample ballots. Just find your county and click away.
You’ll see from the ballot that we’ll be voting for governor, congressional races and other state races, plus some amendments, the most controversial of which pertain to abortion and displaying the Ten Commandments in school. (The back side of the ballot has the full text of the proposed amendments, btw.)
Who should you vote for?
This is the tricky one; there are tons of websites that tell you how to get registered to vote in Alabama, and there’s very little information on the actual candidates and issues. This is a continuing frustration of mine when it comes to media coverage — there’s a lot of “this candidate says this” and very little information about what they actually do. But my sadness regarding the current state of journalism is a topic for another day.
Today, I have a few links so you can do your own research; there isn’t much information at these links other than a list of candidates, but each candidate’s name links to their website, and that will have information about their position on issues (actually, it will more likely have propaganda, but even that should make their political stances clear). Hopefully, these links will save you from the need to frantically Google with your phone while you’re standing in the voting booth.
- The mayoral candidates are Kay Ivey and Walt Maddox. Find their info, plus a general rundown of what’s on the ballot, here.
- Here are the congressional races. Find the one listed on the ballot for your county first, and then look up those candidates on this list.
- Here are the other races on all Alabama ballots (Attorney General, etc.).
- Here are the opposed amendments to Alabama’s constitution. (I meant “proposed” amendments, but I’m leaving that because it’s funny.)
For all this trouble, you’ll be rewarded with a sticker, an Instagram photo op and a smug feeling of superiority that you can post about all over the internet … and maybe the knowledge that you’ve done your part for the strength of our republic or something like that.
Carrie Rollwagen is author of The Localist, a book about buying from locally owned stores. She’s Communications Director at Infomedia, a web development company in Birmingham, Alabama. Find her as @crollwagen on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and most other social media platforms.