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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

Opponents accuse Tuberville of supporting amnesty for undocumented immigrants

Brandon Moseley

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The Senate campaign is heating up as the top three candidates are all going negative. Former Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville has attacked Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose) and former Attorney General and Senator Jeff Sessions of being career politicians. Both Byrne and Tuberville have attacked Sessions for not having adequately served President Donald J. Trump (R) while Attorney General. Byrne has even attacked Tuberville’s coaching abilities. The latest attacks on Tuberville accuse him of supporting amnesty for illegal aliens. Sessions even accused Tuberville of being a “tourist.”

Wednesday, Sessions announced a new television ad called “Tuberville for Amnesty.”

Byrne and Tuberville point to an August speech by Coach Tuberville when he said: “There are people coming across the border that need jobs… and we want them to come over here… Let em’ come in and become citizens like we all became citizens.”

The Tuberville campaign called the attack “fake news” on Twitter.

Sessions’ campaign manager Jon Jones said, “Tuberville is claiming that his own words are ‘fake news.’ All of them? Tommy Tuberville needs to read the transcript. It is clear that Tuberville supports immigration amnesty, and he is attempting to trick Alabama voters to believe otherwise. In contrast, Jeff Sessions has done more than just say he wants to fix the border – he has already worked alongside President Trump to stop illegal immigration.”

The new Sessions ad reads: “Tuberville is trying to trick you, hiding his support for immigration amnesty.” Then plays an audio clip of the Tuberville comment from August

Tuesday, Byrne told reporters in Trussville: “I can tell you right now this issue about Tommy Tuberville’s position on amnesty is a key issue. And so we’re going to keep telling people about his position on that and let him explain why he doesn’t think that’s amnesty.”

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“Let em’ come in and become citizens like we all became citizens,” Tuberville is quoted in the ad.

Tuberville has denied supporting amnesty and says that he supports President Trump’s immigration agenda.

The Sessions ad further charges: “And Tuberville’s not even from Alabama, he’s a tourist here. He lives, pays taxes and even votes in Florida.”

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On Tuesday, the Tuberville campaign responded with an attack ad of their own.

“The career politicians are desperate to hang on to their paychecks and power, so they have started airing negative ads full of false attacks and baseless distortions,” Tuberville said. “Our new commercial allows us to respond with some hard truths about which candidate wants to drain the D.C. swamp and is tough enough to actually help President Trump get the job done.”

The Tuberville ad has Byrne with former Secretary Hillary Clinton and Sessions with Congressman Adam Schiff (D-California) who led the impeachment effort against President Trump. The ad even connects Sessions and Byrne with Sen. Mitt Romney (the only Republican in either House of Congress who found that the President did anything wrong.)

State Representative Arnold Mooney, former Chief Justice Roy Moore, Ruth Page Nelson, and businessman Stanley Adair are also running for the Republican nomination for the Senate seat currently held by Doug Jones (D).

The Republican primary is March 3.

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Elections

Republicans criticize Jones over his “stupid question” response to a constituent

Brandon Moseley

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Republicans are criticizing U.S. Senator Doug Jones, D-Alabama, for a flippant response to a constituent asking how he will vote on a bill that would ban late-term abortions.

While Walking into an Alabama Employer Health Policy Discussion in Birmingham today, Jones had this interaction with a constituent:

The constituent asked: “Do you think abortion should be banned after 5 months?”

Sen. Jones responded, “What a stupid question.”

Constituent: “You’re voting on it next week.”

Senate candidate Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose) said, “Doug may find the sanctity of life funny now, but he won’t find it funny when we fire him in November. I’m running for Senate to ensure we have a Pro-Life, Pro-Trump fighter representing the people of Alabama in the U.S. Senate.”

Marjorie Dannenfelser is the President of the national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List).

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“Senator Doug Jones has proven once again that he is no moderate when it comes to abortion on demand through the moment of birth. Alabama’s Democratic senator may think it is ‘stupid’ to question his abortion extremism, but rest assured, his constituents take respect for human life very seriously,” President Dannenfelser said. “With a record of voting in favor of late-term abortion more than halfway through pregnancy and forced taxpayer funding of abortion, Sen. Jones has repeatedly betrayed Alabamians, siding with the radical abortion lobby and fellow extremist Democrats in Congress. Their agenda is dramatically out of step with the people of Alabama and the strong majority of Americans – including 55 percent of Independents and 43 percent of rank-and-file Democrats – who support compassionate limits on abortion after five months of pregnancy, when science clearly shows unborn babies can feel excruciating pain. If Senator Jones refuses to protect innocent unborn children, he won’t be laughing come Election Day.”

Alabama voters have approved a constitutional amendment that will ban abortion in the state when the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the controversial Roe vs. Wade decision.

Trump Victory National Finance Committee member Perry O. Hooper Jr. said in a statement, “This is a broken record with Doug Jones. It appears he bends over backwards to slap
Alabamians in the face. Always ignoring what Alabamians believe. We are Pro-Life. He is pro-abortion, it is that simple. He is a broken record. Never standing for Alabama values; He is a died in the wool leftist its that plain and simple. Abortion upon demand until birth is his mantra. He has no regard for human life unless they are on death row confected of multiple homicides. These are his victims not innocent children killed in the womb.”

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Defeating Doug Jones and taking back the Senate seat is a top priority of Alabama Republicans.

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Elections

Hasdorff calls for “out-of-touch” Mike Bloomberg to visit an Alabama Farm

Brandon Moseley

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Republican 2nd Congressional District candidate Terri Hasdorff challenged billionaire Democratic Presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg to come visit an Alabama farm.

Hasdorff’s comments followed the re-release of Bloomberg statements dismissing farmers as lacking the “grey matter” to do other jobs.

In a 2016 speech at Oxford University in England, the former New York City Mayor said that he “could teach anybody, even the people in this room” to be a farmer. “You dig a hole, you put a seed in, you put dirt on top, add water, up comes the corn.”

“I am appalled at how out-of-touch Mr. Bloomberg is about how much work goes into successful farming,” Hasdorff said. “I’m personally inviting him to Alabama’s Second District where I would be happy to take him to one of our nearly 10,000 farms and give him a tour maybe we can even get him to roll up his sleeves and put in a little bit of real work!”

Alabama has a long, storied history as an agricultural states Even now, agriculture and forestry remains the largest industry in the state of Alabama.

“Alabama’s farmers are the backbone of our state,” Hasdorff continued. “The fact that someone like Michael Bloomberg feels he is entitled to belittle their hard work is appalling – but this is what the far left really thinks of real America. This is what out of touch Democrats and coastal elites believe. Mr. Bloomberg was just the one caught on tape.”

Hasdorff is part of a crowded Republican primary field on March 3. The Alabama Democratic presidential primary is also on March 3.

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“This is why I’m running for Congress,” Hasdorff added. “We need leaders who understand the needs and struggles of hard-working Americans – farmers, manufacturers, people who keep our country fed and moving. We need real leaders who will fight for our people, not leaders who would have government replace true hard work and the American spirit.”

Hasdorff worked in the White House Office of Public Liaison in the George H.W. Bush (R) Administration. There she worked with faith leaders across the country. She worked on Capitol Hill for six years where her most meaningful assignments focused on keeping the government and Washington, D.C. elites from discriminating against churches and faith-based organizations. Hasdorff worked on the Ten Commandments Defense Act, defending the right of states to display the Ten Commandments in courthouses and public places. She served as a senior advisor on the Charitable Choice language, which put the Faith-Based initiative into law and still protects faith based organizations from discrimination when accessing federal funding. Hasdorff has worked on pro-life, pro-family legislation. Terri also worked in the George W. Bush Administration as America’s faith-based representative to the world. Hasdorff graduated from Samford University.

Second Congressional District incumbent Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) is not running for another term.

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Education

Alabama voters will decide whether to fire the state school board

Jessa Reid Bolling

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The fate of the state school board will be decided by Alabama voters on March 3. 

A proposed constitutional amendment, Amendment One, asks if voters want to change how the folks in charge of education at the state level are selected. 

A yes vote would abolish the elected State Board of Education and the Board-appointed position of State Superintendent of Education. Instead, there will be a Governor-appointed Commission, the Alabama Commission on Elementary and Secondary Education. The Commission would appoint a Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education, to replace the existing state Superintendent’s position.

A no vote would leave the current system in place, meaning school board members would still be elected by voters based on districts. 

The Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama (PARCA) conducted an analysis of the amendment, highlighting both strengths and weaknesses of the amendment. 

“Proponents say elected boards are more responsive to the public will. As elected officials, board members have their rightful place and, ideally, are only responsible to the people who elected them. They should be more empowered to oppose what they believe is not in the interests of the state’s schools and children.

At the same time, as elected officials, re-election is an important goal, if not the central goal. Thus elected board members may find themselves where the interests and desires of voters conflict with policies, programs and practices that best serve children. 

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Conversely, proponents of appointed boards cite the strength of the vetting process in creating boards with knowledgeable, skilled, effective board members. An appointment process allows the governor to consider the needs of the board and the qualities different candidates would bring. 

Others cite that governor-appointed boards and appointed superintendents create a more efficient, aligned, and harmonious system for setting and implementing education priorities. Ambitious and substantive changes to a state’s school system are more feasible in a more efficient system that encourages collaboration and strengthens the governor’s capacity to effect change. However, while somewhat insulated, appointed boards are not immune from political pressure.”

Earlier this month, Governor Kay Ivey addressed PARCA at the annual Albert Brewer Legacy lunch at the Harbert Center in Birmingham, asking the council to support Amendment One.

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“Alabama is at the bottom in about every education category that can be found,” Ivey said. “Too many of our third graders cannot read and too many of our high school graduates are not ready for a career or college.”

“Vote yes on amendment one when you go to the polls on March 3,” Ivey said. “We have had three superintendents in five years. We can do better.”

 

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