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Secretary Merrill says voting is easier than ever in Alabama

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The following statement from Secretary of State John H. Merrill is in response to the inaccurate report shared by the Southern Poverty Law Center and Alabama Political Reporter columnist Josh Moon:

“A report published Monday morning by the Southern Poverty Law Center presented readers with the grossly inaccurate claim that voter suppression is ‘alive and well’ in Alabama. This assertion, however, could not be any farther from the truth.

You see, one of the many things we have done since taking office is work to make it easier than ever to vote in the State of Alabama.

We have worked with the Legislature on numerous occasions to meet the needs of Alabamians in a bipartisan fashion. Most notably, in 2019, I worked with Senator Rodger Smitherman, D-Birmingham, to identify two new ways in which voters may vote by absentee ballot. Last year, we also worked with Representative Victor Gaston, R-Mobile, to establish a way for permanently disabled voters to participate in the electoral process through casting an absentee ballot. These two pieces of legislation have streamlined the absentee voting process and made it easier and more accommodating for the voter.

To be very clear, absentee voting allows for a form of early voting for eligible Alabamians, and we are proud to offer this service to the people in our state who meet the requirements.

We would also like to point out that in the states that do permit early voting, election costs have increased in every state and yet there have been no significant increases in voter participation. Considering we continue to break every record in the history of the state for voter registration and voter participation is proof that our current election laws are not a problem to voters in this state.

Please note the following of the last four major elections:  

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On March 1, 2016, more than 1.25 million Alabamians voted, breaking every record in the history of the state for participation in a Presidential Primary. On November 8, 2016, more than 2.1 million Alabamians voted, breaking every record in the history of the state for participation in a Presidential General Election. On December 12, 2017, more than 1.3 million Alabamians voted and participated in the Special U.S. Senate Election, and on November 6, 2018, more than 1.7 million Alabamians voted, again breaking every record in the history of the state for a Midterm General Election.

And since taking office in January of 2015, we have registered 1,440,682 voters bringing the state’s total number of registered voters to 3,564,263, as of Friday, February 7, 2020. For each of these voters, we have a name, address, birthday, a social security number, and an email address, if provided, proving their identity.

These numbers are unprecedented and unparalleled by any state in the union.

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While the Southern Poverty Law Center may not understand simple math, I am glad to see that my friend Josh Moon agrees that while these people are entitled to their own opinions, they are not entitled to their own facts – and the fact of the matter is that the current voting system has allowed for significant increases in registration and participation.

And to Mr. Moon’s point ‘It doesn’t matter the percentage of people that Merrill’s office has registered to vote, or how many registrations he’s managed from his caravan,’ I would strongly disagree. Each of these people represent a different perspective or background and their stories and their participation are equally as important. Theirs is the story of Alabama, the greatest state in the union.

Additionally, in 2017, we worked with Senator Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, and Representative Mike Jones, R-Andalusia, to identify the crimes of moral turpitude, which disqualify a voter from participating in the electoral process. In 2016, I worked with Representative Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa, to restore the voting rights of those who have been previously disqualified. 

Through working with members from both sides of the aisle, we have streamlined the voting process to ensure everyone who is eligible and interested has the opportunity to participate.

It is unfortunate to see people take advantage of their platforms to push an agenda that is intentionally designed to mislead voters and decrease the public’s trust in elections.

Alabamians and Americans know that the most effective method of political activism is to participate in the electoral process to ensure that our elected officials hold the same values that are held by the electors that put them into office, and I encourage all who are eligible to vote in the March 3, 2020 Primary Elections.”

 

The Alabama Political Reporter is a daily political news site devoted to Alabama politics. We provide accurate, reliable coverage of policy, elections and government.

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Elections

Jones to attend Auburn student forum, Tuberville hasn’t yet responded to invitation

Jones has agreed to attend the forum, but it was unclear whether Tuberville planned to attend.

Eddie Burkhalter

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Sen. Doug Jones, left, and Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville, right.

The College Democrats at Auburn University and the College Republicans at Auburn University have asked U.S. Senator Doug Jones, D-Alabama, and his Republican opponent, Tommy Tuberville, to attend a student forum on Wednesday.

“We are excited to invite the candidates running for our U.S. Senate seat and provide this opportunity for any Auburn student to hear directly from them, and we hope it will inform our student bodies’ decisions with the November 3rd election only days away,” said Carsten Grove, president of the College Democrats at Auburn University, in a statement.

Jones has agreed to attend the forum, Auburn University College Democrats confirmed for APR on Sunday, but it was unclear whether Tuberville planned to attend. The student organization  was still awaiting a response from Tuberville’s campaign.

Jones has for months requested Tuberville join him in a debate, but Tuberville has declined.

“AUCR takes great pleasure in coming together with AUCD to co-host the Alabama Senate candidates in this forum. We are looking forward to a very informative and constructive event,” said Lydia Maxwell, president of the College Republicans at Auburn University.

Dr. Ryan Williamson, assistant professor of political science, is to emcee the forum, which will be open to all Auburn University students in the Mell Classroom Building at 6 p.m., according to a press release from the College Democrats at Auburn University.

Students will be permitted 30 seconds to ask a question of either candidate, and each candidate will have two minutes to answer, according to the release.

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Capacity at the forum will be limited and precautions taken due to COVID-19. Any student with an Auburn ID is welcome and attendance will be first come, first served.

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Elections

Trump Truck and boat parades this weekend

Brandon Moseley

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Trump boat parade

As Election Day draws near, Alabama Republicans are excited about promoting the re-election of Donald J. Trump as President and the election of Tommy Tuberville for U.S. Senate. This weekend two pro-President Trump events are happening in the state. There will be a truck parade from Ashland to Phenix City on Saturday sponsored by the Clay County Republican Party, while there will also be a boat parade on Wilson Lake in the Shoals sponsored by the Colbert County Republican Party on Sunday.

The pickup trucks will assemble at the Ashland Industrial Park in Clay County, 8240 Hwy 9, Ashland. There is a pre-departure rally at 10:00 a.m. central standard time. The trucks will depart at 11:00 a.m. and then proceed on a parade route that will take them into the bitterly contested swing state of Georgia. The Trump Pickup Parade will wind through east Alabama and West Georgia traveling through LaGrange and Columbus before concluding near the Alabama/Georgia line in Phenix City, 332 Woodland Drive, Phenix City at approximately 2:00 p.m. central time. Speakers will begin at 3:00. Trump flags will be on sale at the event.

The Phenix Motorsports Park will be hosting what sponsor hope could possibly the world’s largest Pickup Tuck parade in U.S. history that is routing over 50 mile through Georgia in effort to “pickup” President Trump’s numbers in GA.

A number dignitaries have been invited to address the Phenix City rally, including Coach Tuberville. Former State Sen. Shadrack McGill, Trump Victory Finance Committee member former State Rep. Perry O. Hooper Jr., and Paul Wellborn, the President and CEO of the largest Family owned Kitchen Cabinet manufacture in the USA are among the featured speakers who have committed to speak at the event.

Entertainment will be provided by: Charity Bowden, an up and coming country music singer who was the runner up on “The Voice”. Charity will sing ‘I am Proud to be an American’ as well as songs from her Voice performances. The McGill Girls will also perform. The three beautiful and talented sisters will be singing patriotic songs in three part harmony. Geoff Carlisle, a professional DJ will be keeping the crowd pumped with music and entertainment.

Following the speakers and the entertainment there will Trump truck-vs- Joe Bidden truck races down the drag strip for the finale.

The Northwest Alabama boat parade will be on Sunday. The boats will gather at 2:00 p.m. near Turtle Point and then the flotilla will parade around the open waters of Wilson Lake til 3_00 p.m.. There will be a contest for best decorated Trump boats.

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Trump supporters have held a number of large boat parades across the state to show their support for the re-election of Pres. Trump.

Boat parade sponsors say that this parade will be: pro-American, pro-law enforcement, pro-military.

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Elections

Opinion | Doug Jones’s pathway to victory: Substance over lies

Jones said his work in the Senate should prove to the people of the state that party matters less than productivity. 

Josh Moon

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Alabama Sen. Doug Jones speaks during the Democratic National Convention.

Alabama Sen. Doug Jones believes voters will ultimately see through Tommy Tuberville’s lazy campaign and lies, and that enough of them will be moved by his work over the last two years to send him back to D.C. 

Jones’ comments came during a lengthy interview on the Alabama Politics This Week podcast. He also discussed his plans to address some of Alabama’s most pressing issues and also praised Sen. Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican.  

But it was Jones’ comments about Alabama voters — and whether too many of them are incapable of moving away from the Republican Party — that were most interesting. Jones still believes there are open-minded voters in the state, and that there isn’t enough attention being paid to polls showing a growing dissatisfaction in Alabama with President Donald Trump. 

“There are a number of things that Donald Trump has done that people (in Alabama) don’t agree with,” Jones said. “There are a number of things that he’s done that’s hurt Alabama and that they’re not OK with. That’s where I come in.”

Jones said his work in the Senate, where he’s sponsored the most bipartisan legislation over the last two years, should prove to the people of the state that party matters less than productivity. 

“I tell everyone, you owe it to yourself to look at every candidate and every issue,” Jones said. “I do that. I’ve been a Democrat all my life but I don’t think that I have ever pulled a straight lever. Because I look at every issue. I will tell you that there have been times that I didn’t vote for people who are Democrats for whatever reason — I just couldn’t do it. I think we owe it to ourselves to do that.”

Jones had the perfect example to drive the point home. 

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“Y’all all know our state auditor, Jim Zeigler? Jim wasn’t always a Republican. Jim’s first runs for office were as a Democrat. 

“I rest my case.”

You can listen to the full interview at the Alabama Politics This Week website, or you can subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. 

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Elections

Trump to visit Pensacola tonight

Trump is making a push in Florida in the final weeks of the election, and Northwest Florida is part of his strategy.

Brandon Moseley

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President Donald Trump speaks at the Republican National Convention

Neither presidential candidate is likely to visit Alabama before the general election, as both campaigns accept that Alabama will be certainly in President Donald Trump’s camp on election day no matter what else happens. While Alabama is not a swing state, Georgia and Florida are both in play, and both campaigns are devoting enormous resources there.

Trump is making a push in Florida in the final weeks of the election, and Northwest Florida is part of his strategy. Trump will be just across the Florida-Alabama state line visiting Pensacola and is scheduled to address supporters at the ST Engineering hangar beginning at 7 p.m. CT.

The doors open at 4 p.m. and the event begins at 7:00 p.m.

The president’s rally tonight comes right after a visit to Pensacola last week by Second Lady Karen Pence and is one of many Florida campaign events planned for Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

Trump arrived in Florida after Thursday’s final presidential debate with Joe Biden. He is scheduled to hold a campaign event in The Villages before traveling to Pensacola. The president will spend the night at his Palm Beach resort Mar-a-Lago and will vote early Saturday.

The vice president will hold rallies in Lakeland and Tallahassee on Saturday. Florida has 27 electoral college votes. It would be very difficult for Trump to get the 270 electoral college votes necessary to win without winning Florida.

Democrats warn that attending a Trump rally could be dangerous due to the coronavirus threat.

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“The last thing Floridians need is for Donald Trump to host more potential superspreader rallies across our state,” Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo said in a statement on the rally in Pensacola. “What we do need, however, is a president capable of putting Floridians ahead of his own self-interest and get this pandemic under control.”

Most recent polls have Trump trailing Biden in Florida. Tickets are required to attend the rally.

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