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State postpones run-off election

Plenty has changed since Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued a State of Emergency because of the COVID-19 virus last week, with one of those things being the upcoming run-off election.

The run-off election, originally scheduled for March 31, has been postponed until July 14. The run-off election will include the election of large state offices, such as Senate seat, but also local races – in Franklin County, the election of Franklin County revenue commissioner.

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill called to postpone run-off elections statewide after Ivey announced a State of Emergency. After seeking an opinion from the state attorney general regarding the legality of postponement, the state made the change official March 18.

“We had been planning for the election March 31, but we feel like postponing is a good decision given the circumstances,” said Franklin County Probate Judge Barry Moore, whose office is overseeing the election locally.

The election for Franklin County Revenue Commissioner will be a run-off between Veronica Copeland Stancil and Stratt Byars.

Copeland Stancil said the pandemic makes campaigning difficult because of the inability to have face-to-face contact with voters, but she knows the decision to postpone was the right one.

“A lot of places have elderly poll workers, and the people coming in to vote could be sick and not realize it,” Copeland Stancil said. “I am real concerned about the people at the polls voting and their health and safety. I know this is what is for the best.”

Byars said he agrees the election comes second to protecting citizens and said he looks forward to a healthy election in July.

“The country is in a health crisis right now, so the health of the citizens is the main priority,” Byars said.

“The guidelines prescribed by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the Alabama Department of Public Health have made it clear that it is no longer advisable for the people of Alabama to go to the polls to vote on March 31,” Merrill said in a press release. “The opportunity to participate in the electoral process and have one’s voice heard at the polls is one that we will continue to protect and advocate for.

“In postponing the March 31 run-off election to July 14, we are continuing Alabama’s practice of providing free and fair elections that do not compromise the safety and health of our voters, poll workers and anyone else who may be involved with the elections process.”

Merrill said postponing the election will ensure the election process has time to commence as normal, and election officials have time to make any changes to ensure the process will run smoothly.

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