West Tuscaloosa voters have trouble getting absentee ballots, claim ‘voting suppression’

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Voting issues persist in Alabama where Black voters say they’ve experienced voter suppression in West Tuscaloosa, AL.com reports.

Residents have reported having difficulties securing absentee ballots ahead of Tuesday’s midterms, even after following the procedures to obtain them.

Clarence Sutton, who is from the predominately Black town West Tuscaloosa told the news outlet Monday that since applying for an absentee ballot Oct.22, he’s had trouble and had to make repeated calls in order to finally get one mailed.

Sutton says he finally received his ballot on Monday, just a day before Tuesday’s election but believes it’s only because he complained to county voting officials and Secretary of State John Merrill’s office.

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“Since the Shelby v. Holder case, I feel like Alabama and some other states have been doing everything in their power to legally suppress the vote, and I just don’t think that’s right,” Sutton said, making reference to a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court landmark case.

“This is not new for Alabama, with the history and everything. I just find it interesting that every glitch that is going on in this election is targeting a specific demographic and benefiting a specific party. From the voter IDs to the closing of the DMV, I feel like all of that is a part of a voting suppression effort.”

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The Secretary of State’s office responded with this statement:

“Absentees are a local issue in each jurisdiction,” Merrill said. “When someone makes an application, their application is fulfilled when they meet the standard, meaning you are a registered voter in that county and that you qualify based on your application to receive an absentee ballot, and then it’s mailed to you at the address that you indicated you want to receive it. Whenever that occurs, you mail your ballot back to the absentee ballot manager.”