December 2, 2016

Statement on Ballot Error and Reprinting

MONTGOMERY – Today, Friday December 2, 2016 the Secretary of State’s Office was updated on the final costs incurred related to the reprinting of the ballot for the November 8 General Election.  The final invoice for the reprinting of 2,917,201 ballots was $459,690.80.  Based on previous records and other information available to us, the usual approximate cost to complete the ballot design, printing, and delivery part of an election cycle is projected at $2.3 million statewide.

The ballot had to be reprinted to add the complete required language to the ballot in order to capture the entire statement that had been prepared in the original legislation. Once the error was discovered, Secretary Merrill immediately contacted the service provider and instructed them to stop printing the ballots.  All required ballot styles had not yet been printed.  Secretary Merrill then directed his staff to make the required, corrected changes and recertify the corrected ballot language to the vendor so printing could be completed.

The initial ballot language was certified to the state’s election services vendor omitting two paragraphs required to provide complete information to the voters. The employee that was assigned this task no longer works for the Secretary of State’s Office.  All other disciplinary measures and actions associated with this project are personnel matters and will not be addressed or discussed in the media.

Secretary Merrill sent a letter to the state comptroller requesting that all costs associated with this printing be covered by the State of Alabama to place no additional, undue burden on the counties.

The final total for the reprinting services will be paid in full by the State of Alabama.  Since January 19, 2015, the Secretary of State’s office has asked to be zeroed out of the State’s General Fund Budget and now receives no appropriation from the state.  Through various cost savings measures, including the departure of 24 of the 48 employees on payroll since January 19, 2015, costs saving measures have produced $1,636,858.21 in line item savings for the people of Alabama. 

Subtracting this $459,690.80 from the savings of $1,636,858.21 means the actual realized savings are totaled at $1,177,167.41.

November 2, 2016

Information on Poll Watchers in Alabama

MONTGOMERY – The purpose of this release is to provide much needed information to the people of Alabama regarding poll watchers in the State of Alabama.

The Code of Alabama allows for poll watchers to observe inside polling locations under Alabama code section 17-8-7. The section specifically limits poll watchers to people who are residents of Alabama and be nominated by a party with a candidate on the ballot. Additionally, the name of each poll watcher shall be submitted to an inspector by the county executive committee or nominees for office.

In section (b) of the Code, poll watchers are given specific rights, which are listed below.

Poll Watchers shall have the right to:

  1. Observe the conduct of the election.
  2. Monitor the preliminaries of opening the polls.
  3. Remain at the polling place throughout the election until the results of the election have been posted and the voting machines sealed, as provided by law.
  4. Observe the ballots as they are counted.
  5. Observe absentee ballots and affidavits when they are called during the count.
  6. See all oaths administered and signed, the record of assisted voters, the list of qualified voters, the poll lists, and any and all records made in connection with the election.

Further, poll watchers may not disturb voters, attempt to influence voters, campaign, or display or wear any campaign material or buttons while inside any polling place.

Under no circumstances will any form of voter intimidation be tolerated, and I will do everything in my power to ensure anyone caught involved in an act that can be considered voter intimidation will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Anyone voting on Election Day that observes or is a victim of voter intimidation in their polling location should first report it at and then call (334) 242-7210 if the problem persists.

October 31, 2016

Record Voter Registration Numbers In Alabama!

The deadline for Alabamians to register to vote has passed. As of today we have registered more than 584,252 making the total number of registered voters in the state a record 3,330,802 Alabamians.

Thanks to initiatives like online voter registration, the ERIC mailing, a new partnership with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, and many more, Secretary Merrill’s team has collaborated with the people of Alabama to register the largest number of new voters in state history.

“When we took Office in January of 2015, we committed to make sure every eligible U.S. citizen that is a resident of Alabama be registered to vote and have a valid photo id. With the help of our very capable team and the people of Alabama we have made great strides to accomplish this goal, and for that I say thank you,” said Secretary Merrill.

Merrill continued, “On November 8 don’t forget to bring your valid photo id, and if you need one call us at (334) 242-7200! We want to see you at the polls!”


Valid forms of photo id include:

Valid Driver's License

Valid Non-driver ID

Valid Alabama Photo Voter ID

Valid State Issued ID (Alabama or any other state)

Valid Federal Issued ID

Valid US Passport

Valid Employee ID from Federal Government, State of Alabama, County Government, Municipality, Board, Authority, or other entity of this state

Valid student or employee ID from a college or university in the State of Alabama (including postgraduate technical or professional schools)

Valid Military ID

Valid Tribal ID

October 28, 2016

Casting a "Write-In" Vote Press Release

This release is intended to provide much needed information regarding the proper procedures for casting a “write-in” vote. Please share this information with the public so that we can make sure to eliminate as much confusion on Election Day as possible!

When the candidate you would like to vote for is not listed on the ballot, you may vote for that person by writing his or her name in the blank “write-in” box on the ballot. Each contest on the ballot has a “write-in” box. You must also shade in the circle next to that “write-in” box to ensure your vote is tabulated properly. In the event that the voter selects the “straight-party” option they may still “write-in” a candidate for any race they choose in the blank area designated for “write-ins”. Each vote for a “write-in” candidate will override the “straight-party” vote only for the race with the “write-in” area filled in.

It is important to be familiar with the spelling of the name of the candidate for whom you intend to vote. In the event that the candidate’s name is slightly misspelled, it must be close enough that the voter’s intention can be reasonably determined upon review. The voter must use a full last name, but initials are acceptable for first and middle names.

All votes for “write-in” candidates will be counted in the event that the candidate is qualified to hold the office and not a fictional character. It is also required that the “write-in” vote be hand-written. Additionally, there are no existing stipulations that prohibit a candidate from being elected despite having unsuccessfully run for a party’s nomination, which would normally apply due to Alabama’s sore loser law.

August 1, 2016

Secretary of State John H. Merrill Teams with the Legislature and Probate Judges to Ensure Voter Readiness

In an effort to ensure that eligible Alabama citizens are able to vote, Alabama’s Secretary of State John H. Merrill has asked the members of the Legislature, as well as all Probate Judges to provide three separate and specific days of the week, times, and venues in their areas where the Secretary of State’s office may hold a drive for voter registration and photo I.D issuance.

The Alabama Secretary of State’s next registration events will be held in:

  • August 1, 2016 in HENRY COUNTY at 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM - Headland City Hall, 25 Grove Street, Headland, AL 36345-1746
  • August 2, 2016 in GENEVA COUNTY at 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM - Hartford City Hall, 203 W. Main Street; Hartford, AL 36344
  • August 3, 2016 in BLOUNT COUNTY at 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM - Oneonta City Hall, 202 3rd Ave E, Oneonta, AL 35121
  • August 4, 2016  in PICKENS COUNTY at 10:30 AM - 2:30 PM - Reform City Hall, 104 3rd. Avenue SE, Reform, AL 35481
  • August 8, 2016 in LAMAR COUNTY at 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM - Millport Town Hall, 920 Black Street, Millport, AL 35576
  • August 8, 2016 in TUSCALOOSA COUNTY at 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM - Family Fun Night, Tuscaloosa Amphitheater, 2710 Jack Warner Pkwy NE, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
  • August 9, 2016 in MONTGOMERY COUNTY at 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM - Pike Road Town Hall, 9575 Vaughn Road; Pike Road, AL 36064
  • August 10, 2016 in CONECUH COUNTY at 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM - Evergreen Depot, 100 Depot Square, Evergreen, AL 36401
  • August 11, 2016 in CLEBURNE COUNTY at 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM - Ranburne Town Hall, 21383 Main Street, Ranburne, AL
  • August 15, 2016 in TUSCALOOSA COUNTY at 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM - McDonald Hughes Community Center, 3101 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401

Since June 3, 2014, to participate in an election, a citizen must be registered to vote and present a valid form of photo ID. Forms of photo ID accepted at the polls include valid: driver’s license; Alabama photo voter ID card; state issued ID (any state); federal issued ID; US passport; employee ID from Federal Government, State of Alabama, County, Municipality, Board, or other entity of this state; student or employee ID from a public or private college or university in the State of Alabama (including postgraduate technical or professional schools); Military ID; or Tribal ID.

To receive a free Alabama photo voter ID card a citizen must be a registered voter and must not have one of the valid forms of photo ID listed above.

When applying for the free Alabama photo voter ID, a voter must show: a photo ID document or a non-photo identity document that contains full legal name and date of birth; documentation showing the voter’s date of birth; documentation showing the person is a registered voter; and documentation showing the voter’s name and address as reflected in the voter registration record.  A citizen’s name, address, and voter registration status can be verified by Secretary of State staff, using the statewide voter registration system.

Examples of non-photo ID documents that can be used in applying for a free Alabama photo voter ID card include a birth certificate, marriage record, Social Security Administration document, hospital or nursing home record, Medicare or Medicaid document, or an official school record or transcript.

For more information on the process on how to receive a free voter ID, voters can call 1-800-274-VOTE or go The mobile site schedule is also posted there.