Council passes pair of resolutions supporting “No Excuse” absentee voting and Birmingham joining Welcoming America network
During Tuesday’s meeting, the Council approved two resolutions that were spearheaded by Councilor Crystal Smitherman: one in support of “no excuse” absentee voting in Alabama, another in support of Birmingham being added to the Welcoming America network.
As it stands, at least 29 states plus the District of Columbia, currently allow citizens to cast an absentee ballot without an “excuse.” The resolution that was passed on Tuesday urges the Jefferson County Legislative Delegation to propose and support changes to current Alabama law so as to allow “no excuse” absentee voting in Alabama.
Smitherman said it’s crucial that during this public health crisis all citizens have the opportunity to vote in a safe and responsible manner. “This situation is changing everyday,” she said. “Every person in Alabama needs to have the peace of mind knowing they can participate in our democratic process without putting themselves or others in harms way.”
The Council also approved a resolution authorizing the Mayor and the Office of Social Justice to execute all necessary documents for Birmingham to become a member of America’s Welcoming network, an organization whose goal is to “reduce the barriers that immigrants face to fully participating and build bridges between newcomers and long-time residents.”
“I made an early commitment in my tenure as Mayor to keep Birmingham open and welcoming to immigrant communities,” Woodfin said on Tuesday. “Welcoming cities like Birmingham use proactive strategies to drive inclusion in our neighborhoods, especially for issues that affect us all. Economic prosperity, safe neighborhoods, and civic engagement should be a right for every resident of this city.”
Smitherman said the goal is for Birmingham to maintain its status as a city that is focused on civil rights and liberty for all people. By becoming part of the Welcoming America network, Birmingham will commit to identifying strategies for ongoing inclusion and provide long-term social and economic integration pathways for immigrant families.
“Birmingham is a city that has fought — and will continue to fight — for equality and justice for all people, regardless of race, religion or where they were born,” Smitherman said following Tuesday’s vote. “By becoming part of the Welcoming America network, Birmingham is sending the message that we are committed to protecting the rights of immigrant families and providing ways for them to become an integral part of our community. We celebrate diversity and welcome all people into our city with open arms.”