Absentee Voting generating long wait times in Jefferson County


Birmingham, Ala. (WIAT) — With record-setting absentee voting numbers nation-wide, people tell CBS 42 they’ve waited hours to vote.

Since there are only two absentee voting locations in the area, Jefferson County officials say lines have wrapped around the county courthouse to vote.

Chief Executive Officer Tony Petelos says he has never seen absentee turnout of this magnitude before.

“We are having thousands of more people who are voting absentee like never before,” Petelos said.

Petelos says they are modifying the courthouse in every way they can to accommodate the large voter turnout.

“We have set up the tent, we brought the chairs out, it’s still just not enough. We have hired more and more people. We have installed more and more computers,” Petelos said.

Election officials in Montgomery and Huntsville say they are also experiencing large voter turnout and wait times.

Voters in the Magic City say it can be frustrating, but they understand this is a tough time and process.

“Being patient you know, with the people, so yes. It’s a job and I think they are working very hard,” Voter Alesia Caine said.

Caine arrived to the courthouse on Tuesday around 1:30 p.m. and spoke with CBS 42 3 hours later.

“If you come, I would advise you to bring you some water, snacks, be prepared to stay a little longer in case the wait is long,” Caine said.

She says once a person gets inside, the process gets easier.

“Once you get in there, it’s smooth sailing,” Caine said.

Caine says she would vote absentee again if it meant her vote would count.

“If I have to, in the situation where we have with this pandemic going on, I will,” Caine said.

The deadline for absentee voting in Alabama is Thursday at 5 p.m.

People in Jefferson County can absentee vote at the Jefferson County Courthouse in Birmingham or at 1851 2nd Ave N in Bessemer.

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