There's an easy way to remember the upcoming registration deadline to vote in Alabama's April 16 runoff – April Fool's Day.

Those who are not already registered and those who have moved to another voting place must register by April 1. Those already registered and have not moved to another area are good to go – no further registration is needed.

There are three options for how to register, and all have an April 1 deadline:

Going to your county Board of Registrars. 

Voters can go to the county Board of Registrars and complete a written voter registration form. County offices are open at different times. Most county registrars' offices are in the county courthouse, but a few have a different office location. Check yours. The time deadline on April 1 for in-person registration is 5 p.m. or whenever the registrars' offices close, whichever is first.

Mailing a voter registration form and ID (Deadline, postmarked by Monday, April 1).

The second option is to mail a completed registration form. Check the time your local post office is open and can process this on April 1.

Online registration. (Deadline, Monday, April 1, at 11:59 p.m.)

Register online by visiting here.

Voter eligibility requirements in Alabama

To be eligible to vote in Alabama, you must be a citizen of the United States, reside in Alabama and be 18 years old on or before Election Day. You must not be barred from voting due to a disqualifying felony conviction or have been judged "mentally incompetent" by a court of law. There is no specified time for how long you must have lived in Alabama. If you live here now, you can register to vote.

"The most important office, and the one which all of us can and should fill, is that of private citizen." - Justice Louis Brandeis

Alabama Secretary of State Wes Allen stated, "I want to encourage all eligible Alabama citizens to register to vote and to exercise this constitutional right," said Secretary Allen. "Voter participation in safe, secure, and transparent elections is critical to the success of our state."

On Election Day, polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters must present a valid form of photo identification when voting at their polling place or by absentee ballot.

For questions about registering to vote in Alabama, call the Elections Division of the Secretary of State's office at 334-242-7210 or your local county Board of Registrars.

A useful and easy tool to check your voter registration is the online site of the Alabama Secretary of State's office here.

The tool will also show you which district you vote for in all offices.

There are two simultaneous primary runoffs on April 16, a Republican and Democrat primary. You cannot vote in both. When you enter your polling place, an election official will ask if you want a Democrat or Republican ballot. You will be given the ballot for the party of your choice. There is no split-ticket voting in the primary or runoff. Split ticket voting is allowed in the November 5 general election.

No switching parties for runoff

If you voted in the March 5 primary, you must vote in the same party's runoff on April 16. You cannot legally switch to the other party's runoff. You can choose either party runoff if you did not vote on March 5.  

The April 16 primary runoffs are to select nominees of the two parties for each office up for election this cycle. Those nominees will then face off in the November 5 general election. Also, independent candidates and write-in votes can be selected on November 5. There may be a handful of third-party nominees on the general election ballot.

Counties with no runoffs April 16

In the following 28 counties, there will be runoffs on April 16:

Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Calhoun, Clarke, Clay, Cleburne, Conecuh, Coosa, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, DeKalb, Franklin, Jefferson, Lowndes, Macon, Marion, Mobile, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Pike, Russell, St. Clair, Walker, Washington, Winston.

If you live in any other counties, there will not be any runoffs on April 16.

General election November 5

The "real' election is on November 5. It will feature the two major party candidates for President of the United States plus any third-party and independent presidential candidates who meet Alabama laws for ballot access. It will also have all those races that determined party nominees in the party primaries or runoffs.

Do all of these rules for voting seem complicated? A lot of work? If you are registered to vote, you can simply check the list above to see if your county has a runoff on April 16. If not, stay home. If so, go to your normal polling place on April 16 and again on November 5. Vote. Looking at it this way, it does not seem as complicated. Plus, it's your duty. Your American duty. Your Alabama duty.

Jim Zeigler is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at

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