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Marked sample ballots found in Bullock County


By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Secretary State John Merrill announced the discovery of marked sample ballots being distributed to voters in Bullock County on Tuesday.

“On Friday, December 1, 2017, at approximately 5:10 PM, Alabama Secretary of State John H. Merrill received a report from an official at the Roy Moore Campaign team indicating that there were sample ballots that had been marked for Doug Jones, the United States Senate candidate for the Democrat party, that were being distributed from the Probate Office in Union Springs,” The Secretary of State’s office said in a statement.

Secretary Merrill then contacted Bullock County Probate Judge James Tatum and asked him whether he was aware of this issue. Tatum told Secretary Merrill that he was not aware of that and that he frequently walked by that table throughout the day. Merrill then asked him to check the table and he said he would be happy to do so, he then went to the table and discovered that approximately 10 to 15 ballots had been marked for Doug Jones.

Tatum then reviewed the remaining balance that were available and discovered those were the only ones that were marked. He removed them from the stack, properly disposed of them, and indicated to Secretary Merrill that he would check the offices across the hall from his office first thing Monday morning to verify no other sample ballots had been marked.

Merrill then contacted the Moore campaign team following the conversation with Judge Tatum and indicated that the problem had been resolved and that Secretary of State’s Office would send guidance to all of the State’s probate judges requesting they also check their sample ballot supplies to verify there was not a widespread issue.

Moore for Senate Chairman Bill Armistead said in an open letter to Merrill, “I am deeply disturbed by evidence from Bullock County that official sample ballots for next week’s Special Election for United States Senator have been observed in the Probate Judge’s office that were marked for Democrat candidate Doug Jones.”

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Armistead continued, “Dirty tricks like this undermine public faith in the integrity of our elections, and therefore strike a blow at the legitimacy of our elected officials which is foundational to our representative democracy.   They also reveal a serious breach of the security protocols that should protect these and other election materials against fraud and other malicious acts.”

“On behalf of the Judge Roy Moore for U.S. Senate campaign, I write today to urge you to commence a full investigation of this security breach,” Armistead continued.  “In the meantime, it is critically important for you to take swift action to deter future bad conduct and reassure the people of Alabama that this upcoming election will be conducted freely, fairly, openly and honestly.”

The Moore campaign asked that Merrill request that the Probate Judges across Alabama inspect the election materials currently in their possession, including but not limited to official sample ballots—for signs of tampering or other mischief.  Armistead also asked that Merrill issue guidance to the election officials in each county on appropriate security protocols leading up to next week’s election, “And to permit one authorized representative of each candidate in the special election to appear and—in the presence of the election officials —inspect the sample ballots, so that we can be assured that what happened in Bullock County was an isolated incident, and not part of a broader plot to steal this election.”

Democrats are desperate to win this election so that they can be in position to block potential Trump appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court.  The next two or three justices appointed to the country’s highest court will be in position to set the national policy on controversial issues including: abortion, religious liberty, gay marriage, transgender rights, the individual mandate in Obamacare, and states rights for decades to come.

Liberals are terrified that a hard move towards the right in the court system could undo decades of the Left using the court system to advance their progressive agenda.  This belief that this Senate vote could be a decisive vote to confirm or not to confirm Christians and other conservatives appointed by President Donald Trump has already led them to spend millions of dollars from all over the nation to try to elect their chosen candidate, former Clinton era U.S. Attorney Doug Jones and to launch unprecedented sordid character attacks on the reputation of the Republican candidate, former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore. They even are running commercials making claims about Moore’s dating history in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Despite this Moore, has a seven point lead in the most recent poll by Raycom News and Strategy Research.  Republicans are fearful that unlimited money on the part of the various Democratic forces gathered in Alabama and desperation could lead to some attempts to use voter fraud to try to steal the election.

Bullock County is a rural Black Belt County where most of the local elected positions are controlled by Democrats.

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The Special Election will be on Tuesday.


Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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