By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Based on recent evidence of double voting discovered in North Carolina, Alabama Secretary of State Jim Bennett (R) urged on Tuesday that Alabama legislators pass a bill allowing his office to exchange voter lists with other states to check for duplications.
Legislation that would have done that was sponsored by State Representative John Merrill (R) from Tuscaloosa in the last session. It passed the Alabama House of Representatives but died in the Alabama Senate. Secretary Bennett said that he remains committed to the plan under which a compact of 28 states exchange lists to look for duplicate voters. Alabama law currently only allows the secretary of state to sell the voter list to other states for a penny a name, which with about 3 million voters, amounts to approximately $30,000.
Sec. Bennett said, “The idea in the exchange is not to make money, but to check for voter fraud,” Bennett said. “It is time Alabama joined the compact of states where cross-checks are made possible.”
Sec. Bennett said that many Alabamians have vacation homes in Florida, so cross-checking there and in Georgia would be highly practical. Florida joined the compact in 2013. Every state surrounding Alabama is already a compact member.
Sec. Bennett said, “It is important to note this is not a capricious elimination of voters from the voter list. If a duplication is found, we still must follow the law and the steps we would regularly take in order to remove a voter from the voter list.”
North Carolina Elections Director Kim Strach and her staff reported that they have identified 765 registered voters through the compact who appear to have cast ballots in two states during the 2012 presidential election. Stauch said the first and last names, birthdates and the last four digits of their Social Security numbers appear to match information for voters in another state. The investigation is on-going to make sure that the duplicates are not clerical errors.
The North Carolina state legislature mandated last year that North Carolina join the “Interstate Crosscheck” – a compact of 28 states that agreed to check their voter registration records against those of other states. The program is run by a Kansas consortium that checks 101 million voter records in the 28 compact states.
Secretary of State Jim Bennett was appointed by Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) when Secretary Beth Chapman resigned to accept a position with ALFA over the summer. Chapman was term limited from seeking a third term as Secretary of State.
Rep. John Merrill, former Montgomery County Probate Judge Reese McKinney, and Crenshaw County Probate Judge Jim Perdue are all running in the June 3rd Republican Primary for Secretary of State.