The U.S. Department of Justice isn’t using its vast powers to ensure the country’s most vulnerable people can exercise their right to vote, but is instead focusing its efforts on defending laws that clearly violate the spirit of the Voting Rights Act, an attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center said Tuesday.
The comments, from SPLC senior staff attorney Caren Short, came in response to a DOJ filing in a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of several plaintiffs by SPLC, The NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program. That lawsuit seeks to implement curbside voting for at-risk citizens during the current pandemic and also to remove requirements for certain voter IDs and that witnesses sign absentee ballot requests.
The DOJ filed a brief on Tuesday stating that it is the agency’s position that Alabama’s law requiring witnesses for absentee ballots does not violate Section 201 of the Voting Rights Act, because it is not a test or device as referenced in the Act.
“It is not a literacy test, it is not an educational requirement, and it is not a moral character requirement,” Jay Town, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, said in the brief. “Nor, contrary to Plaintiffs’ position, is it a voucher requirement prohibited by Section 201’s fourth and final provision.”
Plaintiffs in the case have argued that the requirement for a single person with a pre-existing condition could pose a grave risk and reasonably lead to them being unable to safely cast a vote. In fact, they point out in the lawsuit instances in which the DOJ, prior to the Trump administration, also had argued against states requiring witnesses.
“Our complaint demonstrates how Alabama’s witness requirement violates Section 201 of the Voting Rights Act,” said Deuel Ross, senior counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. “In the past, the DOJ itself has objected to witness requirements, but since February 2017, it has brought zero new voting rights cases.”
The “voucher” requirement was one of many tactics utilized by whites to prevent black citizens from voting. In practice, it required that any black person wishing to vote must first obtain the signature of a white person.
Towns argued in the brief that there were differences between voucher requirements and the witness signatures, including that the witness doesn’t have to be a registered voter and the witness is merely signing that he or she witnessed the absentee voter filling out the ballot.
Campaign for Common Sense endorses Sessions, Carl and Smith
The Campaign for Common Sense on Monday announced that it has endorsed Jeff Sessions for Senate, Jerry Carl for Congress in the 1st Congressional District and Will Smith for Court of Criminal Appeals Place 2 in Tuesday’s Republican primary runoff elections.
“While every election is important, this year we have a Marxist inspired Democrat Party trying to undo the Constitution, rewrite American History, promote leaders who say they want to ‘burn the system down’ as well as some such as Ilhan Omar who says that we must ‘dismantle the whole system of oppression’ — really?” Lou Campomenosi wrote.
“This type of rhetoric suggests that we are in a much different political place than any of us have seen since perhaps the anti-war movement during Vietnam — but even then, we did not see the anarchy linked to liberal elected officials closing their eyes and not stopping rioting and looting,” Campomenosi wrote. “The breakdown of Law and Order has never manifested itself as we have seen since Memorial Day when it all began, which means this is a critical election and all of us must vote!”
In the U.S. Senate race, the CSC has endorsed Sessions over former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville.
“For 20 years Senator Sessions served us honorably and as a strong Christian Conservative — he is squeaky clean and can withstand anything the democrats concoct to try to politically hurt him,” the CSC claimed. “His past record includes supporting Obama’s tariffs on Chinese tires in 2011 as part of his long opposition to the Globalists’ agenda. Senator Sessions led the fight against illegal immigration and open borders. He has warned about China’s aggression and worked for fully funding the needs of our military. With regards to all nations, Senator Sessions has long supported fair trade, protection of jobs for America’s workers along with American intellectual property. Senator Sessions is a Constitutional Originalist who has always defended the First and Second Amendments guaranteeing protection for our free speech and right to bear arms. Senator Sessions has not forgotten us in Mobile and Baldwin Counties with his work to bring the companies of Austal and Airbus here.”
In the 1st Congressional District, the CSC endorsed Carl, a Mobile County commissioner, over former Sen. Bill Hightower.
“Jerry Carl was first endorsed by the Board for the March 3rd primary and was recently re-endorsed because in the time since the March 3rd primary and now, CSC has seen Jerry validate its trust in him time and again on the issues that are critical to our region,” the Tea Party group explained. “Whether it was working to improve the Port of Mobile that is critical to Alabama’s commerce or by taking a leading role on the Mobile Planning Commission by saying NO to an absurd $6 toll being proposed by Governor Kay Ivey for a new bridge over the Mobile River, Jerry has shown a willingness to fight for what was right for this region. For CSC, that means that Jerry Carl understands how the other counties in this District work and he has working relations with his fellow County Commissioners in the District and he has been ‘in the trenches’ at the local level gaining experience not only in development, infrastructure and budget issues, but he has also been heavily involved with Mobile’s Public Health Director in fighting the Wuhan Virus pandemic.”
For the Court of Criminal Appeals, the CSC endorsed Smith, who is challenging incumbent Beth Kellum.
“I first met Will Smith when we were living in Florence at the time of the beginning of the Tea Party,” Campomenosi wrote. “We worked together on a great TP meeting on July 4th 2009 that brought out over 1000 patriots to hear among others, Mo Brooks. Will’s background is well suited to this position because in addition to his 25 years of practicing law, he served as a County Commissioner in Lauderdale County where he fought against tax increases and as an NRA member supported the Second Amendment. As a lawyer, who is a member of the Federalist Society, Will brings a wide range of experiences as a criminal defense lawyer and a special prosecutor in thousands of cases spanning his 25 year career. As a member of the Alabama, Georgia, and U.S. Supreme Court Bars, he has handled appeals at the state and Federal levels, which means Will is well prepared for accepting the responsibilities of a Judge on the Court of Criminal Appeals. Attesting to that, Will has received the endorsement of the Alabama Republican Assembly and various conservative groups in the state including the Common Sense Campaign. I think it is also important to keep in mind that Will has been a servant leader in his community, where he has been a Sunday school teacher, has devoted his time to his Church’s Special Needs Ministry, and has been a basketball coach in a program called Upward Basketball. In addition to all of his local community work, Will has also found time to join an International Missions program as a worker. I think you can see from this brief review that Will Smith is ready for this job based on his quarter of a century in law practice, his life experiences as a husband and father in a faith-based community, and importantly, his Christian conservative foundation that is necessary in applying the law to so many different circumstances.”
Polls open at 7 a.m and close at 7 p.m.
Former Attorney General John Ashcroft endorses Jeff Sessions
“Jeff Sessions and I served together in the United States Senate, where he worked hard to protect religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and to preserve our American free market system,” Ashcroft said.
Republican Senate candidate Jeff Sessions, a former Alabama senator and former U.S. attorney general, has been endorsed by former President George W. Bush’s attorney general, John Ashcroft. Ashcroft said that Alabama and the nation need Sessions’s leadership.
“America needs him now, more than ever,” Ashcroft said. Ashcroft endorsed Sessions in a new video.
Ashcroft served as the 50th governor of Missouri, and he served in the U.S. Senate with Sessions.
“Jeff Sessions and I served together in the United States Senate, where he worked hard to protect religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and to preserve our American free market system,” Ashcroft said. “He worked successfully, and we know he will do that again.”
Ashcroft praised Sessions’s history as a fighter, saying, “Jeff Sessions will fight for our nation’s values, which are, tragically, under serious attack today.”
Sessions has been heavily criticized for his tenure as attorney general by his opponent, former Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville, but Ashcroft also highlighted Sessions’s tenure as attorney general.
“As our U.S. Attorney General, Jeff took courageous stands to sustain the rule of law, which is the cornerstone of American liberty,” Ashcroft said. “Please join me in supporting Jeff Sessions. Alabama, and the nation, need his leadership.”
Sessions thanked Ashcroft for his strong support.
“I deeply appreciate the strong endorsement of former Attorney General John Ashcroft. John and I served in the Senate and on the Judiciary committee together,” Sessions said. “He was President George W. Bush’s nominee for Attorney General, and I was a strong supporter of his confirmation. He is a man of faith, he is a patriot, he loves America and the Constitution. Indeed, he has a deep understanding of the founding principles of America. His integrity is unquestioned. His strong and heartfelt endorsement is very important to me.”
Sessions faces an uphill battle in the Republican primary runoff with Tuberville, who has been endorsed by President Donald Trump, who remains popular among Alabama Republicans.
“Alabama does not follow orders from Washington D.C.,” a defiant Sessions responded to the president on Twitter Saturday.
Sessions trailed Tuberville in the Republican primary runoff on March 3 — and has trailed in polling throughout. But he maintains that his campaign is gaining going in to Tuesday’s voting.
“There is a lot of strong momentum our way heading into election day,” Sessions said.
The winner of the Republican primary runoff will face incumbent Sen. Doug Jones in the Nov. 3 general election.
Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.
To vote in the runoff election, you must be a registered voter in Alabama, a U.S. citizen, have a valid photo I.D. with you, and you must vote at the polling place that you are assigned. While wearing a mask or cloth face covering is recommended any time you are in a public place, no one will be denied their right to vote because they do not have a mask or refuse to wear a mask.
Shoals Republican Club endorses Will Smith
The Shoals Republican Club on Monday said in a statement that they are endorsing William Smith in the Republican primary election runoff on Tuesday for Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals.
“The Shoals Republican Club is pleased to announce our formal endorsement of Mr. William Smith of Florence, Alabama who is running for Place 2 Judge on the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals,” the Shoal Republican Club wrote in a statement. “William was a founding member of the first Shoals Republican Club over ten years ago. With the current inception of the Shoals Republican Club, William has been a strong supporter of the Shoals Republican Club.”
“William is a fifth generation Lauderdale County resident and resides in Killen with his wife, Laura Webb Smith, and their daughter,” the endorsement announcement continued. “William Smith currently operates a full service law firm representing clients from all walks of life in both civil and criminal matters. He has represented clients in courts all over the state of Alabama and has successfully handled appeals in both the Alabama and federal appeals systems. He is licensed to practice law in Alabama, Georgia, and before the United States Supreme Court.”
Smith is a former county commissioner.
Smith is facing two-term incumbent Beth Kellum in the Republican primary runoff.
The runoff is likely a winner take all as there is not a Democratic or independent who has qualified to run in the Nov. 3 general election.
Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. Remember to bring a valid photo ID with you in order to participate in the election.
Andrew Sorrell elected chairman of Alabama Trump delegation
The Alabama Colbert County Republican Executive Committee announced State Rep. Andrew Sorrell, R-Muscle Shoals, has been elected as the chair of the Alabama Trump delegation going to the 2020 Republican National Convention in August.
“To be elected as the 2020 Alabama Trump Delegation Chairman is a great honor,” Sorrell said. “I have big shoes to fill, as Senator Jeff Sessions served as Chairman in 2016 and (then) Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey served in 2012. It’s a huge responsibility, but 2020 is a pivotal year for our country, so I couldn’t be more thrilled to be involved. I look forward to working alongside the Trump campaign to ensure his re- election this November.”
Sorrell was elected June 27 as the chair of the Alabama Trump Delegation at a meeting in Montgomery. The 50 delegates gathered at the Renaissance Hotel to elect members of four different committees and the chairman. Several of the committees this year will be honorary only and will not meet due to coronavirus restrictions.
Sorrell defeated Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Parker for the position of delegation chairman. The chair’s duties include fundraising for the delegation activities, lining up guest speakers for events and coordinating with the Alabama Republican Party to plan events for the delegation while in Jacksonville. The delegation chairman is typically the one to announce the delegates’ presidential preference on national television, so we could see Andrew Sorrell on T.V. announcing that Alabama chooses Donald Trump as the Republican nominee for president of the United States during the convention.
The Colbert County Republican Party will have three delegates to the Republican National Convention this August. Former committee chairman Fred Joly was elected as an alternate delegate for District 4, place 3, while both Rep. Andrew Sorrell and his wife Hannah Sorrell were elected as Trump delegates. Andrew Sorrell was elected as one of three delegates for Congressional District 4. Hannah Sorrell was elected statewide as an at-large delegate.
Phill Green has served as the chairman of the Colbert County Republican Party since 2018.
“We are proud that 3 members of our local committee are playing such an important role in the 2020 RNC convention,” Green said. “Just ten years ago Republicans in Colbert County had very little influence in local elections and Republicans held no elected offices; now, we are not only participating but one of our committee members is leading the delegation. It illustrates very well the hard work that this committee has done over the last 10 years to turn Colbert County red.”
Alabama will have a total of 50 delegates and 47 alternate positions. Due to the COVID-19 crisis in which anyone can get sick at any time or be exposed and have to be quarantined, alternate delegate are going to have to be ready to step up.
This year’s RNC convention was originally planned for Charlotte, North Carolina, but because of strict North Carolina regulations on reopening the economy, the convention now has been split into two parts. The official business of the convention will take place in Charlotte with just six representatives from each state’s delegation in attendance. Those six will cast proxy votes for the other 44 delegates from Alabama.
As delegation chair, Sorrell will be among the six attending the Charlotte activities. That business will take place on Monday, Aug. 24, after which those delegates will be flown to Jacksonville, Florida, to meet up with the rest of the delegation for the remainder of the convention. The speeches and events will all take place in Jacksonville and will culminate with the president’s speech Thursday night.
Florida was quicker to reopen its economy than almost any other state and appeared to have come out of the coronavirus crisis quickly. Those early rosy assessments now appear to be gravely wrong.
At least 12,624 people were diagnosed with coronavirus on Monday alone — more than in any other state. Texas, which also reopened early after a very mild bout with the coronavirus was second with 9,156. At least 4,277 Floridians have died of COVID-19. North Carolina had 1,999 new cases on Monday, just edging out Alabama with 1,958 for sixth in new coronavirus cases. At least 1,551 people have died of COVID-19 in North Carolina.
Nationwide, 138,248 Americans have already perished in the global pandemic. The Trump campaign has rejected calls to have a virtual convention where all the delegates participate online from the safety of their homes.
Trump trails apparent Democratic nominee Joe Biden by 10 percentage points in most early polls.