How to Vote in Birmingham, Alabama on Super TuesdayMarch 1, 2016
I’m pretty big on voting with your wallet. I think our daily choices matter, and supporting our communities by spending money at small businesses instead of at corporate chains (that tend to trample people in a blind drive for profits) is a way to vote for a better America every single day.
But it’s important to vote at the actual polls, too. I agree, voting is annoying (lines are long, we’re supposed to be at work today, etc.). I agree that actual information on the candidates is bafflingly hard to find (where’s the BuzzFeed list on Richard Shelby?). And just like we’re told that our purchases don’t matter, we’re constantly hearing that our votes don’t matter. We’re told that the winning candidates are basically already determined, and that one vote in many is useless. That’s not true, though. And it’s kind of a slap in the face to people who fought hard for the vote, or to people all over the world who still don’t have it. Voting is a privilege … so let’s exercise it.
Don’t worry; this stuff isn’t as complicated as everyone’s making it out to be. There aren’t even that many races on Alabama’s Super Tuesday ballot, and a quick Google search can get you enough information to make a pretty informed choice. Wondering about other stuff, like how to figure out where to vote or if you’re registered? Here’s a quick list:
Not sure where to go? Plug in your information here, and find out where to vote in the Alabama primary in a few seconds. If your polling place pops up, it should also mean you’re registered to vote. You’re good to go! If you haven’t voted in awhile, that’s okay — they can get you caught up when you get to your polling place. [This link was working perfectly Monday night; Tuesday morning, not so much. This is probably a high traffic issue; if it’s not working when you check, try calling the Alabama Secretary of State’s election office at 800-274-8683 or 334-242-2444 or find email addresses for election officials who should be able to answer your questions here.]
If you’re looking for a cheat sheet, here’s your Alabama primary sample ballot. You’re basically looking at the race for President, a couple of state races, and a constitutional amendment. (You can skip the delegates section — most of the ballot — if you don’t have specific information on the candidates.)
Don’t know if you’re registered Democrat or Republican?
This doesn’t matter in Alabama; just request the ballot you want when you get to the polls. This is handy if you’re planning on using your vote to basically vote “against” someone (ahem, Trump, ahem). Um … not that I recommend something like that.
The Birmingham News and AL.com have a lot more information on voting, candidates, etc; you can use their search (or just a Google search) to get info on state candidates (I like to check what the Huntsville and Montgomery papers have to say about them, too). But for today, this AL.com article answers lots of Alabama primary-specific questions.
If you’re not registered to vote in Alabama, it’s too late for today — but you’ve got plenty of time before the general election. Here’s an online form to register to vote in Alabama, and here’s a link to more info and the paper registration form, if you prefer to go old-school. You can also stop by the downtown public library, or the courthouse. Go ahead and do it! Voting is important for our communities and our democracy.* Plus, they give you stickers.
Carrie Rollwagen is the book columnist for Southern Living and a book reviewer at BookPage. She is Communications Director at Infomedia, author of The Localist: Think Independent, Buy Local and Reclaim the American Dream, and co-founder of Church Street Coffee & Books. Find her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @crollwagen.
* It’s actually a democratic republic. But you get my point.