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Elections

Merrill announces new photo ID requirements for voters casting absentee ballots

Brandon Moseley

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The Secretary of State’s office announced Tuesday that new rules for voting by absentee ballot went into effect on August 1.

In order to vote absentee, the voter is required to submit a copy of their valid photo identification with the absentee ballot application. The secretary’s office said this will ensure that only eligible voters receive ballots for the election in which they are qualified to vote.

Prior to Aug. 1, voters requesting an absentee ballot were not required to present a valid form of photo identification with their application, making it more difficult for Absentee Election Managers to verify the voters’ identity.

“Now more than ever, we are making it easier to vote and harder to cheat!” Secretary of State John Merrill said in a statement. “By streamlining the process to verify absentee voters, we are making the submission of an absentee application easier and more efficient for all who are eligible.”

Absentee election managers are no longer required to publish the list of absentee voters, their addresses, and their polling places in the county courthouse. This law is designed to protect voter privacy and keeps information from being compromised by those looking to influence elections.

One Republican strategist in Jefferson County, however, told the Alabama Political Reporter that this new secrecy requirement will make it harder for them to find voting fraud. He cited the exposure of irregularities with a recent election in the Bessemer Cutoff of Jefferson County, which were found using that public list of absentee voters.

This law introduces two new instances for voters to submit an absentee ballot: if a voter is a caregiver to an immediate family member or if a voter has been incarcerated but has not been convicted of a disqualifying felony.

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Act 2019-507 also provides that a voter may apply for an emergency absentee ballot while serving as the caregiver to someone who requires medical treatment or if an immediate family member has passed away within five days of an election.

In order to ensure absentee ballots are returned in a timely manner in a way that is convenient, voters now have the option to return ballots by commercial carriers such as UPS or FedEx in addition to U.S. mail.

“In the Office of the Secretary of State, we are working to make the electoral process more efficient and accommodating for the people of Alabama!” Merrill said.

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Alabama has been criticized by some Democrats and some Democratic Party-aligned civil rights groups for its voter ID laws. They claim that the law suppresses black voters.

A federal court has already upheld the legality of Alabama’s photo ID law.

Merrill denies that any voter suppression is taking place in the state and emphasizes that if you need a photo ID, his office or your local board of registrars will provide you one free of charge.

“My goal as Alabama’s 53rd Secretary of State is to ensure that each and every eligible U.S. Citizen that is a resident of Alabama is registered to vote and receives a free photo ID,” Merrill said in the statement. “Our only goals when it comes to the administration of elections is to ensure that every Alabamian has access to participate in a fair and secure elections process and we encourage voter participation by ensuring that in each of Alabama’s 67 counties.”

Merrill is a 2020 candidate for U.S. Senate for the seat currently held by Sen. Doug Jones.

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with eight and a half years at Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook. Brandon is a native of Moody, Alabama, a graduate of Auburn University, and a seventh generation Alabamian.

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Elections

Former UA president Judy Bonner endorses Jeff Sessions

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GOP Senate candidate Jeff Sessions.

Former University of Alabama President Judy Bonner has penned a letter endorsing Jeff Sessions in the race for U.S. Senate.

“During his 20 years in the Senate, Jeff worked side-by-side with our senior senator, Richard Shelby, always fighting for Alabama values and looking after Alabamians. I’m sure Senator Shelby would agree that no finer person has ever served in the U.S. Senate than Jeff Sessions. Jeff is a man with the highest degree of integrity, character and honesty. Together, they made an impressive team for our state and can do so again,” Bonner said. 

“When Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina hit Alabama in 2004 and 2005, Jeff and his wife, Mary, were literally passing water bottles out in Bayou La Batre and helping provide food and shelter to those affected throughout South Alabama. And when the Deepwater Horizon oil spill occurred in 2010, Senator Sessions, Senator Shelby and my brother, Jo, were keeping the pressure on Ken Feinberg and BP to make sure our state was compensated,” Bonner said. 

“While in the Senate, Jeff visited every county – all 67 – at least once a year. Like Senator Shelby, he knows Alabama like the back of his hand. And when our people have needed their senator to help them cut through the bureaucracy at the VA, Social Security or one of the many other federal agencies, Senator Sessions and his team were always there for us. He knows how to represent Alabama in Washington – and serve all of us – because he has been a servant leader his entire life,” Bonner wrote.

Bonner pointed to Sessions’s ability to deliver results for Alabama immediately.

“Another important point to consider is there will come a day when Senator Shelby decides to retire. Do we want our next senior senator to have more than 20-years-experience and seniority or do we want someone who is still learning his way around the Capitol?” Bonner asked. 

Bonner concluded her letter with this note about Jeff Sessions:

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“He is Alabama through and through. I hope you will consider giving him your support and trust as well. He has never let Alabama down and he never will.”

 

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Congress

Perry Hooper endorses Tuberville

Brandon Moseley

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Former State Rep. Perry Hooper Jr., Trump National Victory committee member, formally endorsed former Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville for U.S. Senate on Thursday.

“I have known Coach Tommy Tuberville since he first arrived at Auburn in 1999,” Hooper said. “Since day one when I went to watch my sons practice football, he was always talking to me about Republican Party Politics. I knew it was in his blood. Little did I know at the time, I would be joining the President in supporting him for the United States Senate.”

“Coaching football is more about leadership than X’s and O’s,” Hooper continued. “Tommy’s leadership abilities were the first thing that impressed me when we first met. He has been places recruiting that few people running for office have. He has been in some of the poorest neighborhoods in the country, convincing Mommas how he was going to help mold their 17 years old sons into men. He really cares about everyday people and what is best for our neighborhoods and schools. He has been a great teacher of life lessons as well as an outstanding football coach. He brought in former Auburn Linebacker Chette Williams to serve as the Auburn football team chaplain. He is a dedicated Christian and dedicated to his family which includes his former players. This is what this country needs now – leaders not career politicians.”

“Tommy Tuberville is a principled, free market conservative who has the support of President Trump and has put together a great campaign to defeat Doug Jones,” said David McIntosh, president of the Club for Growth PAC “President Trump’s endorsement is by far the most important endorsement a candidate can earn for a Republican Primary, and we are glad to join President Trump in supporting Tommy Tuberville.”

Club for Growth PAC has been strongly supporting Tommy Tuberville for Senate and Barry Moore and Bill Hightower in the Second and First Congressional Districts.

During these turbulent times, the President needs Tommy Tuberville on his team.,” Hooper said. “As the President stated in his endorsement “Tommy Tuberville loves his country and will never let it down”. He is 100 % behind the President and the Trump Agenda. He could easily have retired after his long successful football career, but there is one more chapter in his life – serving in the US Senate. He has been a winner on and off the football field; as Senator he will be a big win for America and Alabama.”

Hooper is a member of the Alabama Republican Executive Committee and a strong supporter of Auburn University athletics.

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Tuberville faces former U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions on Tuesday, July 14, in the Republican primary runoff. The winner of the Republican nomination will face incumbent Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, in the Nov. 3 general election.

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Elections

Moore, Coleman campaigns spar after Roby endorses Coleman

Brandon Moseley

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Barry Moore, left, and Jeff Coleman, right, are in the Republican runoff in the 2nd Congressional District.

Incumbent Congresswoman Martha Roby on Thursday endorsed Dothan businessman Jeff Coleman in Tuesday’s Republican primary runoff. Barry Moore, who challenged Roby’s re-election in the 2018 Republican primary, dismissed the endorsement.

“I fully support Jeff Coleman to be our next Congressman,” Roby said in a statement. “Jeff Coleman is a businessman who supports cutting government regulation and lowering taxes to help grow a strong economy. Jeff strongly supports our men and women serving in uniform, as well as our veterans. The Second District needs someone who will support our interests right here in southeast Alabama, particularly our farmers. Jeff will do just that. He’ll get results for Alabama.”

Former State Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) said in a statement: “While we appreciate Martha’s service, let’s remember that she has been part of the establishment in Washington for a long time–the same swamp President Trump has been trying to drain. The people of District 2 will always remember that Martha Roby turned her back on Donald Trump when he needed us most. She was the first member of Congress to draft a letter asking him to drop out of the Presidential race. That is something that we will never forget. President Trump needs our support. Can we really trust Roby/Coleman for that?”

“I am proud to be endorsed by The House Freedom Fund, the PAC of the House Freedom Caucus,” Moore continued. “The members of the Freedom Caucus are considered the President’s closest advisors in the House and they have been leading the conservative fight in Congress. The voter’s choice is the same old swamp with Coleman or Barry Moore, who is supported by the most Conservative group in Congress. I look forward to representing the people of District 2 and I am thankful for their support.”

The Coleman campaign responded to Moore’s response.

Coleman campaign manager Dalton Dismukes said, “Mr. Moore cites Representative Roby’s service as “she has been part of the establishment in Washington for a long time” as she served five terms. This is interesting because in the Tuesday WTVY Debate, Mr. Moore, when pressed about his support of term limits and how long he would stay went on to say he would serve “maybe 10 years–five terms” Just seems hypocritical and inconsistent.”

“Mr. Moore also cites Rep. Roby’s past with President Trump saying Rep. Roby was part of, “The same swamp President Trump has been trying to drain.” But he didn’t mention that President Trump actually endorsed Rep. Roby in 2018 when he tweeted, “I fully endorse Martha for Alabama 2nd Congressional District!,” Dismukes added. “Lastly, and arguably most importantly, Mr. Moore is quoted as saying, “The people of District 2 will always remember when Martha Roby turned her back on Donald Trump when he needed us most.” Yet he is proud to be endorsed by Club for Growth who spent $7,000,000 against Trump the very same year and the very same election.”

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Club for Growth PAC is supporting Moore as well as Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville and First Congressional candidate Bill Hightower in Tuesday’s Republican primary runoff.

Coleman has been endorsed by the Business Council of Alabama, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Alabama Farmer’s Federation.

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Elections

Congresswoman Martha Roby endorses Jeff Coleman

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Congressional candidate Jeff Coleman. (CAMPAIGN)

Congresswoman Martha Roby endorsed Jeff Coleman for Congress Thursday. “I fully support Jeff Coleman to be our next Congressman,” Roby said. “Jeff Coleman is a businessman who supports cutting government regulation and lowering taxes to help grow a strong economy. Jeff strongly supports our men and women serving in uniform, as well as our veterans.”

She continued, “The Second District needs someone who will support our interests right here in southeast Alabama, particularly our farmers. Jeff will do just that. He’ll get results for Alabama.”

“I am humbled and honored to receive this strong endorsement from Representative Roby. She has been a staunch supporter of our military men and women, as well as our farmers. I am looking forward to continuing her legacy of fighting for our conservative Alabama values, protecting the family farm, and fighting to ensure our veterans and active-duty personnel have all the resources they need,” Coleman said of the endorsement.

Coleman has now been endorsed by 10 mayors, multiple business associations in the state, the U.S. Chamber, and Roby. Coleman finished the Republican Primary on March 3 with 38 percent of the vote — 18 points ahead of his closest challenger.

Coleman has never run for public office and touts a 35-year successful business career.

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