Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill met Thursday with the Alabama Political Reporter and the rest of the capitol press corps about the August 27 Montgomery municipal election.
Merrill said that the Secretary of State’s office has received twelve credible complaints of alleged irregularities in the August elections for Mayor and City Council.
Reporters asked if fraud occurred. Merrill said that he is not ready to say that, but there were serious “errors” made. Merrill said that the investigation was continuing.
One reporter asked if the charges were being brought by anonymous complaints.
“They are not anonymous to us,” Merrill said.
Merrill said that his office would not even address complaints from anonymous sources. The Secretary of State’s office knows who the people are bringing the twelve complaints; but that the office will not release their identities to the media at this time. Merrill said that those people’s identities would only be released if the office moved forward charges of fraud.
Merrill said that he has talked with both mayoral candidates, Steven Reed and David Woods, and they have both agreed that the Secretary of State’s Office will observe the mayoral primary runoff on October 8.
Two teams of five observers from the Secretary of State’s office will monitor how the election is conducted and will visit all 46 polling places in the city.
One reporter asked why the Secretary of State does not oversee every municipal election.
Merrill said that there are over four hundred municipal elections in the state and that the office does not have that capability.
A reporter asked if the reported vote totals from the August election are correct.
Merrill said that at this time, he is comfortable that they are.
Merrill said that since he has been Secretary of State, six people have been convicted of election fraud and two elections were overturned. All of those were in municipal elections.
Merrill said that in most municipalities the city conducts the elections and the city clerk’s office is responsible for directing the election, usually with voting machines leased from the County. In the case of Montgomery County, the Montgomery Election Center, run by the county, was contracted to run the election for the city.
Merrill said that in most elections the voting machines are tested before the election. Montgomery election officials did not do the recommended pre-election testing.
Merrill said that he has talked with Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange about what happened and Strange has made a formal request that the Secretary of State observes the runoff election.
In most elections, the polls close at 7:00 p.m. and vote totals start coming in by 8:00 p.m. with most boxes reporting in just after 9:00 p.m. For some reason, results were very slow coming in. This strange delay, as well as reports of irregularities that surfaced on Montgomery talk radio, has fed voter discontent with how the process was handled in August,
Merrill said that most campaigns have a volunteer who waits at the polling place for the election workers to tape the paper tape of the totals on the door or wall of the polling place. The worker then phones in those results to the campaign; so most campaigns know the results minutes after the polls closed and well before any numbers are released to the public. In this case, at least two polling places did not post the machine tapes even though it is standard practice.
Woods owns Montgomery’s Fox TV station. Steven Reed is the Montgomery County Probate Judge.
Incumbent Mayor Todd Strange did not run for reelection.
Merrill is a 2020 candidate for U.S. Senate for the seat currently held by Sen. Doug Jones.
Tuberville: Arson, rioting, vandalism, violence are not valid forms of protest
Monday, U.S. Senate candidate former Auburn head football Coach Tommy Tuberville (R) said that Arson, looting, rioting, vandalism, and violence are not valid forms of protest-they are felonies.”
Tuberville made the comments after planned protests over the death of George Floyd during an arrest by the Minneapolis Police Department rapidly descended into violence, destruction, and mayhem over the weekend across the countries, particularly in Birmingham where much of the downtown was ransacked by an angry mob.
Tuberville said that these crimes, “Must be punished to the fullest extent of the law.”
“Vandalizing the Lincoln Memorial does not honor the life of George Floyd,” Tuberville said. “Looting stores and stealing televisions will not stop another death like George Floyd’s from occurring.”
Tuberville also addressed the attacks on members of the press Sunday night in Birmingham.
“Beating journalists and robbing them of their wallets and telephones is not a social statement,” Tuberville stated. “It is simply felons being felons.”
In Birmingham, Members of the media were attacked during the protest. ABC 33/40 TV News reporter Stephen Quinn was sucker punched by a masked protestor and then hit in the head with a cup of ice by a second rioter, while the first assailant robbed him of his wallet. The Alabama Medica Group’s Madison Underwood was hit in the face by masked assailants, then beaten to the ground where he continued to be beaten until his colleagues were able to drag him away.
“That was terrible. I’m glad my colleagues are okay,” Underwood said. “I’m okay. My nose is swollen and bleeding. My phone is gone. I’m thankful to the folks who dragged me out of there, who checked on me, who said nice things. Not sure why that went bad so quickly.”
Reporters Anna Beahm, Ivana Hrynkiw, and photographer Dez Wilson were also terrorized,
“Unless anarchy is met with the rule of law, the foundation of our nation will begin to crumble, so I support President Trump’s decision to declare Antifa a terrorist organization and his calls to use the National Guard to stop further riots,” Tuberville said.
Over a dozen buildings in Birmingham were also attacked including: the Harbert Center, Alabama Power museum, federal courthouse, and the Confederate Veterans Monument.
“Condemning every police officer across the nation for the actions of a few makes no sense,” Tuberville continued. “The police officers who have had bricks and rocks thrown at them over in recent days wear the same uniform and badge as the officers who bravely ran into the World Trade Center on 9/11 to save lives. Without the man and women in blue, criminals would routinely rule our streets, just as they have in major cities across the U.S. for the past few nights.”
“I don’t think anyone can watch the 10-minute video and not feel outrage, anger, and sadness about what happened to George Floyd,” Tuberville said. “From all appearances, he had the life slowly squeezed out of him, and it could have been avoided.”
“I feel strongly that if someone is guilty of committing murder, they should be put on trial, convicted, and imprisoned, and if someone is guilty of looting a store, setting fire to a business, or vandalizing property, they should be convicted, tried, and locked up, too,” Tuberville concluded.
Tuberville is running for the Senate in the July 14 Republican Party primary runoff against former Senator Jeff Sessions. The winner will go on to face incumbent Sen. Doug Jones (D-Alabama) in the November 3 General Election.
Sessions: Looting will continue until arrests are made, lawbreakers are jailed
Monday morning, former Attorney General and U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Sessions (R) called on Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) to call out the National Guard and for Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin to impose a curfew on the troubled city.
“The surge of destruction and violence we witnessed last night in the great city of Birmingham must not be allowed to continue,” Sen. Sessions said in a statement. “All over the country we have seen the results of “politically correct” and completely ineffective leadership. What began as peaceful protests has been seized and distorted by Antifa, far-left radicals, and criminal thugs who are intent only on destruction and anarchy. We must not simply withdraw or pull back and watch as rioters and terrorists destroy personal property, vandalize, burn, and commit acts of violence.”
“A curfew is now essential,” Sessions said. “We cannot allow our law enforcement personnel to be outnumbered by those who seek to sow violence. Every asset must be brought to bear to support Birmingham’s government and law enforcement. The Governor should mobilize sufficient numbers of our National Guard, so that our police are supported and order is restored.”
“While we fully support the constitutional right to peaceful protest, a great city must defend the rule of law, with no exceptions,” Sessions said. “We must not allow criminal mobs to roam from block to block, looting and destroying as they go. This will not stop until arrests are made, lawbreakers are jailed, and cases against the criminals are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Later that day Mayor Woodfin agreed and imposed a night time curfew on the city. Residents and visitors to the city have been ordered to stay home between 7:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.
The curfew went into effect on Monday and will be in effect until further notice.
Sunday’s night’s lawlessness erupted following a planned protest in memory of George Floyd, who was killed by police in Minneapolis.
The mayor said that the destruction, violence, and mayhem that followed the peaceful protest was not in memory of Floyd and does not represent the values of Birmingham.
An out of control mob broke storefront windows, beat and robbed bystanders including reporters, plundered and vandalized much of the city, and battled with Birmingham police who desperately attempted to get control of the situation. Twenty-four people were arrested, 13 businesses were known to have suffered damages, and at least 14 businesses were burglarized. Police are still receiving reports of damages from residents and businessowners. A number of public buildings were damaged including the federal courthouse and the Confederate Veterans Monument in Linn Park.
“No one deserved what happened last night in this city, we call home, Birmingham,’’ Mayor Woodfin said. “Birmingham, this is not us. This is not who we are. This is not how we taught the world how to protest.’ Violence, looting and chaos is not the road to reform, and anybody who is doing the looting, … breaking things just because,… you’re on a different agenda that the City of Birmingham will not tolerate.’
Governor Ivey has authorized the Alabama National Guard activate up to 1000 troops to help protect the state’s embattled cities if the need should arise.
“I have given authorization to Adjutant General Sheryl Gordon to be on standby, should our local and state law enforcement need additional support,” Gov. Ivey said. “The Alabama National Guard stands ready to assist when peaceful protests become violent and dangerous to our public safety. I will always support the right of the people of Alabama to peacefully lift your voices in anger and frustration. However, we will not allow our cities to become a target for those, especially from other states, who choose to use violence and destruction to make their point.”
The City of Birmingham is asking for anyone with footage or information on those who damaged property or committed crimes to call CrimeStoppers at 205-254-7777.
Sessions is running in the Alabama Republican Party primary runoff on July 14 against former Auburn head football Coach Tommy Tuberville. The winner will face incumbent U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-Alabama) in the November 3 general election.
Sessions served in the Senate from 1997 to 2017 and as U.S. Attorney General from 2017 to Nov. 2018. Sessions previously served the people of Alabama as Alabama Attorney General, Alabama Republican Party Chairman, U.S. Attorney, and Assistant U.S. Attorney. Sessions also served as a reserve officer in the U.S. Army.
Barry Moore is optimistic Trump will calm the riots
Monday, Second Congressional candidate former State Representative Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) responded to President Donald J. Trump’s (R) strong statement invoking the 1807 Insurrection Act and mobilizing of federal military forces for possible use against the rioters that have struck dozens of cities over the last several days, including Birmingham on Sunday night.
“The President is absolutely right in saying we cannot allow the voices of peaceful protestors to be drowned out by an angry mob,” former Rep. Moore said in a statement. “He’s also right to defend the peace-loving citizens, many of them residents of poor communities, who are the main victims of these mobs. We do need healing and not hatred, security not anarchy and especially justice instead of chaos. We can’t have any of these while these domestic terrorists are allowed to continue their destructive acts.”
“By mobilizing the civilian and military resources of the Federal government, the President is doing what other Presidents have done to protect the lives, property and rights of law-abiding citizens,” Moore said. “My hope is that very little federal action will be needed as local and state governments act to protect their citizens. However, I am confident that the President will do what he said and take action if necessary.”
“I’m also hopeful that the President’s strong stance will help calm the riots and open the door to productive discussions and real solutions to the problems we as Americans face,” Moore concluded.
Moore is running in the Republican Party primary runoff on July 14 where he will faces Dothan businessman Jeff Coleman.
“My Administration is fully committed that for George and his family, justice will be served,” Pres. Trump said Monday night. “He will not have died in vain. But we cannot allow the righteous cries of peaceful protesters to be drowned out by an angry mob.”
“Innocent people of have been savagely beaten, like the young man in Dallas, Texas, who was left dying on the street,” the President explained. “Or the woman in upstate New York, viciously attacked by dangerous thugs. Small business owners have seen their dreams utterly destroyed. New York’s Finest have been hit in the face with bricks. Brave nurses, who have battled the virus, are afraid to leave their homes. A police precinct station has been overrun. Here in the nation’s capital, the Lincoln Memorial and the World War Two Memorial have been vandalized. One of our most historic churches was set ablaze. A federal officer in California, an African-American enforcement hero, was shot and killed. These are not acts of peaceful protest. These are acts of domestic terror.”
President Trump announced executive actions to stop the rioting and restore safety to our cities.
First, he recommended every Governor deploy the National Guard and establish an overwhelming law enforcement presence until the violence has been quelled. If a city or state refuses to take action, then the U.S. Military will be deployed.
The President also announced decisive action to protect Washington, D.C. after rioters vandalized the World War II monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and other cherished national monuments.
“As we speak, I am dispatching thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel, and law enforcement officers to stop the rioting, looting, vandalism, assaults, and the wanton destruction of property,” the President explained. “Every rioter and instigator will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Organizers of violence and terror will face lengthy and severe criminal penalties. I take these actions today with firm resolve, and with a true and passionate love for our country. By far our greatest days lie ahead.”
Second Congressional District incumbent Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) is retiring from Congress at the end of the year.
Carl, Hightower raising money for July GOP primary runoff
Mobile County Commissioner Jerry Carl and former State Senator Bill Hightower are running in the Republican Party primary runoff on July 14.
Both campaigns are preparing for the final push. Their Federal Elections Commission reports on their fundraising efforts are through the end of March.
Carl reported total receipts of $1,513,462.10. $709,525.10 of Carl’s money comes contributions. $670,169.60 of that is contributions from individuals; while $37,700 are contributions from other committees. Carl has contributed $1,655.50 to his own campaign. Carl’s congressional campaign also reports personally loaning his campaign $758,900.
Carl has already spent $1,307,240.85. $1,114,940.85 was for campaign operating expenses, $400 was for contribution refunds and $191,900 were loan repayments. Carl entered the month with $206,221.25 in cash on hand and debts of $567,000.
R.E. Myles of Grand Bay, AL donated $8400 to Carl’s campaign. Myles is the President of the law firm McDowell, Knight, Roedder, & Sledge. There are two entries for Mr. Myles of Grand Bay. The second is for $5,600. Carl’s other top contributors include: Rachel Burton is a Mobile housewife $5,800. Philip Burton of Mobile contributed $5,600. Burton works for the Burton Property Group. Clarence Burke Jr. of Foley works for Wolf Creek Industries $5,600. Nancy Myles of Grand Bay is retired, $5,600. Morgan Myles is a Mobile engineer with Core Industries, $5600. White-Spunner & Associates is a real estate firm, $5,400. Warren Nicholson of Mobile, who works for NFINA Technology, $5,400. Kathy Nichols of Mobile is retired, $5,400. Matt Metcalfe is a Mobile realtor, $5,400. Jerry Lathan is a contractor from Theodore, $5,400.
Former State Senator Bill Hightower reported total contributions of $1,071,355.21. $1,032,155.21 were individual contributions; while $39,200 were contributions from other committees. Hightower has no outstanding loans.
Hightower has already spent $858,340.60. $848,860.60 were operating expenses. $5,600 were refund contributions to individuals. $3,880 were other disbursements. The Hightower campaign had $213,023.40 in cash on hand.
Club for Growth PAC is supporting Hightower and they have donated $19.600 to his campaign. Major contributors include: Richard Uihlein of Lake Forest, Illinois is the CEO/owner of Uline, $11,200. Roy Drinkard of Cullman is the owner of Drinkard Construction, $2,800. Lamar Harrison of Wilmer, AL is the President of Gulf Construction and Hauling, $2,800.00. Rhonda Scott is an Opelika homemaker, $2,800.00. Allen Harris of Opelika is the owner of Bailey-Harris Construction Company $2,800. Donna Williams is a Mobile homemaker $2,800. George Montgomery is the president of his own company $2,800. Sherri Trick is a Tuscaloosa homemaker $2,800. Carrie Montgomery of Mobile is the treasurer at Gulf Fastener. $2,800. Kreis William of Birmingham is a vice president at JohsonKreis Construction $2,800.
The winner of the Republican primary runoff will face the winner of the Democratic Party primary runoff between James Averhart and Kiani Gardner
The First Congressional District is an open seat, because incumbent Bradley Byrne, R-Montrose, is not seeking re-election.
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