Connect with us

Elections

Alabama probate judge featured in video asking for federal funding of elections

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

(STOCK PHOTO)

The Brennan Center For Justice released a two-minute video Wednesday featuring the voices of six election officials from across the country, including Bullock County, Alabama, Probate Judge James Tatum. This bipartisan group uses the video to talk about why they feel that they need federal funding in the next stimulus package in order to help keep the November election “safe, secure, accessible, and reliable.”

“We want to make sure that the citizens of Bullock County, the citizens of our communities throughout this great nation of our have a safe voting process,” Tatum said. “We want to make sure that everyone is safe.”

“I cannot emphasize enough that we all should work together — Democrat, Republican, Independent, young, old; it doesn’t matter,” Tatum added. “Everyone needs to come together to make sure that the democracy process take place.”

The election officials in the video make the point that due to coronavirus concerns, more people are voting absentee than ever before. This generates more work for election officials and more costs. They feel that the federal government can help make this election safer and more secure by providing emergency funding to elections officials as part of the next coronavirus relief package that is being debated in Congress now.

Congress has already provided $400 million for emergency funding for elections in the CARES Act. The Brennan Center, however, wrote that a survey of election costs in five states shows that the $400 million in the CARES Act would only cover ten to eighteen percent of what those states need to safely and effectively administer elections during the pandemic.

ADVERTISEMENT

“What Congress has provided so far is not enough to run safe and secure elections in 2020,” Derek Fisher and Elizabeth Howard wrote for the Brennan Center. “Our review shows that the March 27 grants will likely cover anywhere from less than 10 percent of what Georgia officials need to around 18 percent of what Ohio officials need.”

“Second, local election jurisdictions bear the heaviest burden of protecting voters and workers during the election,” Fisher and Howard wrote in their report. “In two of the states we examined, local governments must cover over 90 percent of the costs needed to ensure safe and secure elections this year. In all five states, they will bear the overwhelming share of such expenses.”

They claim that the money is needed to develop the infrastructure necessary to support changed voter behavior, protect voters and election workers during elections by giving poll workers PPE, allowing curbside voting, cleaning polling places, and ensuring that election staff can work off-site as needed without exposing election offices to cyberattacks, and to educate the public about changes made to election procedures and polling locations including notice of changed elections, moved polling sites, and new voting options to reduce density at in-person locations.

“The measures that we appraise in this document are critical,” Fisher and Howard wrote. “They come from our discussions with numerous election officials in each of the five states we examined. States need help.”

Public Service Announcement

Some states have consolidated polling places in response to the COVID-19 threat. The Brennan Center, however, says that an analysis finding that despite a surge of absentee voting, consolidating polling locations in Milwaukee reduced turnout by nearly 9 percentage points, disproportionately affecting Black voters.

Unlike some states, Alabama does not have vote by mail, multiple days and even weeks to vote, or electronic voting like some states do. Because of COVID-19 fears, Alabama is allowing voters to vote by absentee using COVID-19 as an excuse. If you are infected with the coronavirus or are just afraid that you might contract the coronavirus by voting in person you may obtain an absentee ballot.

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill has already rejected curbside voting and stated that all Alabama polling places will be open. Poll workers did have PPE at polling places during the July 14 Republican and Democratic primary runoff elections.

You must have a valid photo ID in order to participate in any Alabama election, and you may only vote at the polling place which you are assigned. Those rules did not change.

Bullock County is a Black Belt county on the eastern side of the state with a population of 10,138 people in 2018.

At least 1,357 Alabamians have died in the coronavirus global pandemic, including 431 in July alone.

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.

Advertisement

Elections

Insiders say former Rep. April Weaver is “frontrunner” for Senate District 14

Multiple GOP insiders say former Alabama State Rep. April Weaver is a frontrunner to replace State Sen. Cam Ward.

Bill Britt

Published

on

Former State Rep. April Weaver is now serving in the Trump administration.

The surprise announcement on Tuesday that State Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, had been tapped by Gov. Kay Ivey to serve as director of the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles sent the political chattering class into overdrive with speculation of who would replace him in the state Senate.

“April Weaver is a clear frontrunner if she jumps in the race,” said a prominent Republican.

Multiple insiders echoed the same sentiment while asking not to be identified in this report to avoid the appearance of trying to influence party politics.

“I think she’s the top contender should she decide to run,” said another.

Replacing Ward, a third-term Alabama senator representing Senate District 14, requires that Ivey announce a special election to fill the vacant seat.

Weaver was a member of the Alabama House representing the 49th district from 2010 to 2020 when she resigned in May to take a position as regional director for Region IV of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the Trump administration.

ADVERTISEMENT

If elected to the upper chamber, she would be the only Republican woman currently serving in the Senate. There are four women serving in the Senate’s Democratic caucus, all of them Black, while the Republican caucus is dominated by white men.

A career nurse, Weaver, in 2015, became the first woman in state history appointed chair of the House Health Committee. In addition to serving as chair of that committee for five legislative sessions, she also chaired the Shelby County House Delegation and as a member of the Rules, Internal Affairs, and State Government committees.

As a federal employee, Weaver cannot engage in political affairs and had no comment on the rumors.

Upon her appointment by President Donald Trump, she said: “Serving in the Alabama House of Representatives has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. It has been a tremendous honor and privilege to represent the people of House District 49 for the past ten years.”

Public Service Announcement

She continued, “I am forever grateful for the trust and confidence they have placed in me as their Representative, and I am deeply honored to have been chosen to join the Trump Administration. I am excited to be able to use my skills and experience at a national level during this unprecedented time, and I look forward to supporting President Trump’s initiatives and serving the people of our nation.”

Weaver lives in Senate District 14.

Continue Reading

Elections

Voters once again heading back to the polls in Montgomery

For the sixth time in three years, Democratic voters will go to the polls on Tuesday to select a Democratic nominee.

Josh Moon

Published

on

(STOCK PHOTO)

Don’t complain about election fatigue to the voters in Alabama’s 26th senate district. For the sixth time in three years, Democratic voters will go to the polls on Tuesday to select a Democratic nominee.

They will vote at least once more to ultimately fill the seat, and will likely be forced to do so twice more if none of the six candidates receives at least 50 percent of the vote. Should a primary runoff be needed, it will be held on Dec. 15. The general election to fill the seat will be held on March 2. 

The never-ending string of elections for the seat began in late 2017, when former state Sen. Quinton Ross resigned to accept the job as Alabama State University’s president. That began a string of elections won by now former Sen. David Burkette. 

Burkette won three elections in 2017 (a primary, a primary runoff and general election) and two more in 2018 to earn the seat. 

Things did not go well. 

Before he served a day, Burkette suffered a debilitating stroke that left him in a wheelchair. Then, earlier this year, he was indicted on charges of misusing campaign funds. He ultimately reached a plea deal with the Alabama Attorney General’s Office that saw him resign his seat and be charged only with a misdemeanor. 

ADVERTISEMENT

And now, the cycle starts all over. 

The six Democrats vying for the position are: Linda Burkette, the wife of David Burkette; current Montgomery Rep. Kirk Hatcher, who recently sponsored the count property tax increase; former longtime Rep. John Knight, who was Burkette’s top foe in the five previous elections; Janet May, the former chair of the Montgomery County Democratic Conference; current state Rep. Tashina Morris; and Deborah Anthony, a retired research analyst who’s never held public office. 

Former Montgomery City Councilman William Green is the only Republican running and will face the ultimate winner in March. 

Barring a shift in the universe, the winner of the Democratic primary will ultimately win the seat. Burkette received about 80 percent of the vote in his general election wins. 

Public Service Announcement

Continue Reading

Elections

Opinion | A question for Alabama Republican voters

You won last Tuesday. But let me ask you this: What did you win? 

Josh Moon

Published

on

(STOCK PHOTO)

Let’s chat, Republican voters. Now that the election is over and emotions have returned to just short of a five-alarm fire, I’d like to lay a few things out for you. Things just to consider. Things that maybe you’ll carry with you in the future. And then, I have a question for you.

Let’s begin here: You won last Tuesday. Convincingly. 

No two ways about it, the Republican candidates in this state mostly crushed their Democratic competition, a few statehouse races in Dem strongholds notwithstanding. In the all-important statewide race at the top of this state’s ticket — Sen. Doug Jones vs. Republican Tommy Tuberville — there was a convincing Tuberville win. 

So, congratulations. 

But let me ask you this: What did you win? 

Not, “what did the party win,” but what did you win personally? These elections aren’t about the team winning. They’re about public representation that best reflects your interests and values. 

ADVERTISEMENT

That’s what a representative government is about, right? Electing people who will go to D.C. or Montgomery or your local courthouse and get the things done that are important to you. 

So, did you get that? 

Well, let’s take a look. 

According to a 2018 Public Affairs Research Council study completed in Alabama, these were the top five issues for state voters: 1. Public education, 2. Healthcare, 3. Government corruption and ethics, 4. Mental health and substance abuse, and 5. Poverty. 

Public Service Announcement

Obviously, a few things have happened since then, so I think it’s safe to say we can include the economy and global health crises in the top seven. 

And I also know from the campaign ads and constant comments on social media sites that replacing justices on the Supreme Court (mostly in an effort to overturn the legalization of abortion) is high on the list. In fact, it was most often the single topic listed by voters and the single reason many said they were voting against Jones. 

So, there’s your list of important issues. Did your elected officials have a plan to address any of those things?

In short, no. I checked. And you can too. 

Go to the websites for Tuberville, Robert Aderholt, Mo Brooks, Mike Rogers, Barry Moore and Jerry Carl — those are the U.S. senator and representatives elected in Alabama last week — and see if you can locate their specific plans for any of those things. 

Hell, half of them don’t even list education — your No. 1 priority — on their websites. 

On your No. 2 issue, healthcare, the responses are so laughably stupid, it’s frankly hard to believe that adults wrote them. Every single one of them wants to “repeal and replace Obamacare.” None of them specify exactly what they plan to replace it with.  

Let me put that another way: They want to take healthcare away from hundreds of thousands of Alabamians, in the middle of a pandemic, and just hope that insurance companies and hospitals behave appropriately and don’t mistreat anyone.  

Let’s be real here. These guys got elected because they’re on the R team, and because you’ve been led to believe that the most important vote that can be cast is one for the people who will choose our next Supreme Court justice. 

And you believe that because you have the misguided notion that the Supreme Court will one day overturn Roe v. Wade and ban abortions, which will magically eliminate all abortions. You also believe the high court will do other things, like repeal Obamacare or overturn precedent allowing gay marriage. 

Bad news: None of those things are going to happen. Just this week, the court, despite a 6-3 conservative majority, sent strong signals that the latest attempt to kill Obamacare will be unsuccessful. 

In June, the court upheld an opinion that blocked a Louisiana law requiring doctors to have admitting privileges at local hospitals before they can perform an abortion. The law was designed to limit abortion clinics in the state. 

In October, the court declined to even hear the case of a former Kentucky clerk who was jailed for failing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. 

Now, we could get into the technical legal reasons behind those decisions, but they all essentially boil down to this: The rulings in the major cases on abortion, Obamacare and gay marriage weren’t made flippantly. And once they were made, they became precedent for the court and incredibly hard to overturn.  

But don’t take my word for it. Go read the opinions in the cases I mentioned. Read the analysis from legal scholars. Read the words of the justices. 

And when you finish, ask yourself this: If these conservative judges are going to behave like responsible judges then what exactly am I getting out of all these Republican votes? 

Our schools are in bad shape. Our health care system is failing. We’re going to have to open a new prison just for convicted Republican lawmakers and elected officials at the rate we’re going. We’re at the top of the charts on poverty. And we have one of the highest death rates in the world for COVID. 

What else do we need to fail at before you’ll consider voting for someone who has some idea what they plan to do? No, really, I’m asking.

Continue Reading

Congress

Gov. Kay Ivey meets with Congressman-elect Jerry Carl

Carl won his seat to the U.S. House in Alabama’s 1st Congressional District garnering 61 percent of the votes.

Eddie Burkhalter

Published

on

Gov. Kay Ivey meets with Congressman-elect Jerry Carl.

Gov. Kay Ivey on Tuesday met with Congressman-elect Jerry Carl, to discuss the current hurricane season and trade policy, Ivey’s office said in a statement. 

“The governor looks forward to working together with Congressman Carl for the people of Alabama’s 1st district,” the statement read. 

Carl, a Republican and a Mobile County Commissioner, won his seat to the U.S. House in Alabama’s 1st Congressional District garnering 61 percent of the votes.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement