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Elections

Merrill announces successful closure of voter fraud complaints

Brandon Moseley

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Tuesday, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R) announced that his office has now successfully resolved or closed all election complaints from the 2016 regular election cycle and the 2017 special Senate election.

Sec. Merrill’s team has now closed more than 92 percent of all of thw election issue reports that have been submitted by citizens since the time he took office.

“Our goal since taking office has been to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat,” Secretary Merrill said. “When I first sought this office, there was no process for documenting voter fraud reports. We established a website dedicated to this issue – stopvoterfraudnow.com – to make sure each report is given the attention it deserves. It is unfortunate complaints like this have to be made at all, but I am proud of the way we have worked to follow through and get them closed or reported to the appropriate authorities.”

From April 2015 to August 2018, the Secretary of State’s office received 764 total complaints about voting issues or election irregularity. Complaints range from second-hand reports of unauthorized campaigning at the polls to personally observed voting fraud. These complaints were either submitted in writing to the Secretary of State’s office or were submitted through an online form.

The Secretary of State’s office staff members then tracked those complaints and recorded their eventual closure or resolution. Of the 764 total complaints, there are now only 58 that remain pending or under investigation.

The Secretary of State’s office said that it will not pursue complaints that are not attributed to a source or that are submitted anonymously, but the names of individuals who submit issues will be held in confidence. Complaints are reviewed and evaluated for legitimacy, and a staff team then makes a determination about where the report needs to be directed.

In March 2015, the Secretary of State’s office, the Attorney General and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) established the Alabama Elections Fairness Project to foster cooperation among state agencies in pursuing voter fraud issues.

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If the issue is one that requires investigation of potential criminal charges, it is reported to local or state law enforcement or the attorney general’s office. Issues dealing with campaign finance or reporting are referred to the Alabama Ethics Commission. In some cases, a team from the Secretary of State’s office has been deployed and issues are resolved on site. Other complaints are closed either due to a lack of sufficient information or a withdrawal of the complaint.

The Secretary of State’s office has closed 706 reports. Of those seven were handled by a team from the Secretary of State’s office. Twenty-four were forwarded to the Alabama Ethics Commission. 37 were reported to Attorney General Steve Marshall’s office. 151 were closed due to lack of sufficient information. 446 cases were closed generally. 39 were reported to local or state law enforcement. Two cases were withdrawn. Most of the issues were handled by a team from the Secretary’s office were usually requests made by candidates who wanted to make sure the electoral process was done fairly and legally.

The complaints that were sent to the Ethics Commission usually involve campaign material disclaimers or campaign finance issues. Issues that were referred to the Attorney General were improper procedures in the administration of the election process, absentee balloting issues or misuse of campaign materials.

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Reports that were referred to ALEA are made when there is direct evidence of absentee ballot fraud. Local sheriffs or district attorneys are involved when there is an issue that requires immediate local attention, such as a poll worker attempting to influence a voter.

Issues can be closed quickly when there isn’t credible evidence, like the 27 complaints from people outside the state who indicated they directly observed voter fraud on election day.

“Our office is committed to serving the citizens of Alabama and to doing our part to uphold the rule of law,” Sec. Merrill said. “We work closely with our law enforcement agencies at the local, state and federal levels to ensure these issues are properly investigated and vigorously prosecuted. We currently have several cases under investigation that could lead to criminal charges, and we hope that serves as a deterrent for people who would seek to harm our electoral process in the future.”

Any citizen who wishes to report any issue with elections or voting can do so by contacting the Secretary of State’s office at 334-242-7200 or www.stopvoterfraudnow.com.

Secretary of State John Merrill is seeking a second term and faces Heather Milam (D) in the general election on November 6.

 

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Elections

Alabama House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels endorses Mike Bloomberg for president

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Alabama House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels announced his endorsement of Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg today, 4 days ahead of Alabama’s primary election on Super Tuesday. Daniels joins State Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton and Black Caucus Chair Representative A.J. McCampbell in support of Mike. In his endorsement, Rep. Daniels cited Mike’s work taking on tough fights on health care, public education, and supporting small businesses.

“We need a president who has a proven record of bringing people together to tackle the tough challenges we face in this country, and I can’t think of anyone better to do that than Mike Bloomberg,” said Rep. Daniels. “Not only is Mike the best positioned to take on Trump, but he has also proven he can deliver on his promises to make this country better for all. Alabamians should know that when I head to the polls this Tuesday, I’ll be proudly casting my vote for Mike Bloomberg.”

Rep. Anthony Daniels represents the 53rd District in the Alabama State House of Representatives, where, since 2017, he has served as minority leader. Rep. Daniels received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from Alabama A&M University. A former public school teacher and small business owner, Daniels is known for championing innovative education programs, like the Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering, that prepare young people for promising careers, cultivate homegrown talent, and drive economic growth. Under his leadership, the House Democratic Caucus has made significant strides in addressing key issues like support for cradle-to-Pre-K programs, proven workforce development, and job readiness initiatives, and bringing broadband access to rural areas. They have also succeeded in preventing the passage of partisan legislation that hurts working families.

“Alabamians know how important this election is for the future of our country, and that’s why they’re supporting Mike Bloomberg, a doer and not a talker with a record of not shying away from tough fights,” said Bradley Davidson, Mike Bloomberg 2020 Alabama State Advisor. “We’re honored to have the support of Rep. Daniels, a respected leader in Alabama and beyond, and we look forward to working together with him to get Mike elected.”

Mike Bloomberg will return to Alabama on Sunday, March 1 to participate in the 55th annual Selma bridge crossing to commemorate Bloody Sunday. Additionally, Bloomberg visited Montgomery earlier this month for an organizing event and to speak at the 60th annual Alabama Democratic Conference (ADC) Convention, the Alabama Democratic Party’s largest Black caucus. He later received the endorsement of the group.

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Courts

Doug Jones praises end of state Democratic Party lawsuit

Eddie Burkhalter

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U.S. Senator Doug Jones, D-Alabama, on Thursday applauded the end of a lawsuit over control of the state Democratic party. 

Montgomery County Circuit Judge Greg Griffin on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit filed by former Alabama Democratic Party chairwoman Nancy Worley, which means that state Rep. Chris England, who was picked to lead the state Democratic party by a reform group championed by Jones, is the party’s chair. 

“This is a great day for Alabama and her Democratic Party. Throughout much of last year, countless Democrats in our state worked to create a more open and diverse state party, while recognizing and being true to the crucial and historic role held by African-American voters,” Jones said in a statement Thursday.

“The by-laws of the Alabama Democratic Party now reflect the growing diversity in our state — including representation for Hispanic voters, Native American voters, Asian voters, voters with disabilities and voters from the LGBTQ community. And most importantly, the Alabama Democratic Party has dramatically increased leadership opportunities for young voters. Around 70 new caucus members were added to the state party Executive Committee last year—many of them young people from diverse backgrounds throughout the state. I’m proud to continue to work alongside a more unified, diverse and inclusive state party. 

“With the dismissal of this lawsuit, it is time that all who have been involved in this challenge, resolution, and expansion of the Democratic Party come together for a common good. Our state benefits from the ideas and engagement of a competitive two-party system. We have now demonstrated that we have the ability to be inclusive within our own party while working to expand the number and experiences of people who play a role in moving it forward.  

“Chairman Chris England and First Vice Chair Patricia Todd have my complete support and I call on Democrats throughout the state to unite behind them as we move forward in modernizing, re-invigorating, and expanding the Alabama Democratic Party.,” Jones said.

 

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Elections

11th-hour smear campaign against Byrne linked to opponent Tuberville, sources say

Bill Britt

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A story published February 24, on Gateway Pundit alleges, “Bradley Byrne kicked his brother’s widow off her land,” but the land was never owned by Byrne’s sister-in-law.

Whether the reporter at Gateway Pundit didn’t read all the court records or there were other motives, the erroneous accusations on the popular right-wing blog are now being used to smear Byrne in the final hours of a heated U.S. Senate race.

See complete records. 

Political consultants not tied to Byrne’s campaign say that operatives working for his rival, Tommy Tuberville, are promoting the story to damage Byrne. Random text messages are being sent to distribute the story as well as numerous calls to Alabama media outlets to report on the false claims. State political reporters have rejected the story due to its inaccuracies.

Several calls and voice messages to Tuberville’s campaign have gone unanswered.

The land in question was part of the estate of Byrne family matriarch, Elizabeth Patricia Langsdale Byrne.

In her original will signed July 23, 1996, Mrs. Byrne left her property in Baldwin County to her three children, Dale, Bradley and Patricia.

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However, on Feb. 25, 1999, she amended her will, removing her eldest son leaving the property to only Bradley and Patricia.

On Dec. 6, 2000, Mrs. Byrne again amended her will, leaving one-third to Bradley, one-third to Patricia and one-third as a “life estate” to Dale. According to the will, the life estate left to Dale would go back to Bradley and Patrica upon Dale’s death because a life estate means ownership of land is only for the duration of a person’s life.

Mrs. Byrne died in 2008; she was followed in death by her son Dale in 2014,  at which time the life estate bequeathed to him expired.

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Bradley, who his mother selected as executor of her estate, then filed the necessary paperwork with the Baldwin County probate office to address Dale’s death as stipulated in Mrs. Byrne’s will.

The Gateway Pundit story leaves out crucial details and in its interview with Dale’s fourth wife, Gloria, repeats claims she made that are not grounded in facts.

There is also a false claim that Byrne refused to leave the campaign trial when his brother died, but he did in fact cancel a scheduled event in the family’s time of morning.

The same reporter at Gateway Pundit wrote several stories praising Tuberville and trashing his other primary opponent, Jeff Sessions, calling him a skunk and a snake.

Court records clearly show Byrne acted in accordance with his mother’s wishes as they were detailed in her last will and testament.

 

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Elections

McCutcheon endorses Chris Lewis for Congress

Brandon Moseley

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Late Thursday night the Chris Lewis for U.S. Congress campaign announced that they were pleased that the Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) has endorsed Lewis in the Fifth Congressional District.

Lewis is challenging conservative incumbent Congressman Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville).

Speaker McCutcheon represents House District 25 in Limestone and Madison counties.

“Many people and organizations across North Alabama have discussed with me that it is time to make a change in our Congressional seat,” McCutcheon said in a video that was released on the internet. “Chris has proven his commitment to our Nation through his military service.” “I believe Chris has the heart of a servant leader and would be a fine Congressman for North Alabama.”

Lewis’s campaign says that the endorsement highlights his understanding and commitment to our nation’s defense and advancements in space exploration technology. It follows previous endorsements of Lewis by the: Alabama Farmers Federation Farm PAC (ALFA), Bgen “Smokin” Joseph Stringham USA (ret), Combat Veterans for Congress, Dynetics, Professional Fire Fighters of Alabama, and the Home Builders Association of Alabama.

Lewis is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and the U.S. Naval War College. He retired as a Commander from the United States Navy after 23 years of service. His experience includes multiple combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, service as a strategic analyst for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a decade of defense acquisition experience, and serving as Contract Transition Team Lead for Arnold Engineering Development Complex, Arnold Air Force Base.

Brooks’ outspoken conservative views and his role as a founding member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus has earned him criticism from some Republicans. Brooks has represented the Fifth Congressional District for five terms. He ran for U.S. Senate in the U.S. Senate special election in 2017; but finished third behind former Chief Justice Roy Moore and appointed Senator Luther Strange in the special Republican primary. Brooks was a staunch supporter of Sen. Ted Criz (R-Texas) in the 2016 presidential primary; but has been a strong supporter of Pres. Trump’s agenda in the House and a fierce opponent of efforts by House Democrats to impeach the President.

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President Donald J. Trump has endorsed Brooks.

The President said on Twitter: ”@MoInTheHouse Brooks is running for Congress in the Great State of Alabama. He is a huge supporter of the #MAGA Agenda. Mo fully supports Securing our Border w/the WALL, he Loves our Military & Vets, & is Strong on the #2A. Mo has my Complete Endorsement!”

The Fifth Congressional District had been in Democratic hands until Brooks challenged incumbent Congressman Parker Griffith (D-Huntsville) and Griffith responded by switching to the Republican Party. He was defeated by Brooks in the Republican primary in 2010.

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The Republican primary is on March 3. This is likely a winner take all primary as no Democrat qualified to run in the Fifth Congressional District.

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