The Russian Government wants to have observers at the polls in several states on Election Day. But given the allegations of Russian cyber-interference in this contentious election year, they've been told Nyet!
The Washington Post reports the request came from the Russian consulate in Texas.
Some states outlaw all international observers at the polls, even the most innocent types who want to learn from us. I looked it up, and was not the least bit surprised to see Alabama is among them.
I was surprised, a little, to see that Alabama also prohibits "non-partisan citizens" from the polls. The National Conference of State Legislatures says those observers can be helpful:
Nonpartisan observation can provide a particularly important way for citizens to encourage accountability in the democratic system outside of party structures. In some cases, nonpartisan citizen observers are able to report election administration issues as soon as they arise, thereby helping administrators to respond immediately and avoid further problems.
Thirty-five states allow those observers. The rest, including Alabama, do not.
Monday is the deadline to register.
The 2016 Voter Guide from the Secretary of State's office identifies these deadlines:
GENERAL ELECTION —
NOVEMBER 8, 2016
October 24 Voter registration deadline.
November 3 Last day for voter to make application for an absentee ballot.November 7 Last day for voter to hand-deliver or postmark an absentee ballot.
The Election Guide also advises:
The voter has only the following legal ways to return the absentee ballot:
- forwards the absentee ballot by U.S. Mail, or
- personally hands the absentee ballot to the absentee election manager (or delivers by a designee in the case of emergency absentee voting)
Or not. I tried to assist an older couple with their absentee ballots last week because one is hospitalized and the other spending almost the entire time in the hospital room. I went to hand deliver the ballots in sealed envelopes provided by that very election office. The ladies there were very nice, but said they were not allowed to accept hand-delivered ballots other than by the voter him or herself. I had to turn around, carry them to the Post Office, and mail them back to the office.