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ALGOP rejects change that would have stripped voters of power to elect convention delegates

Brandon Moseley

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(STOCK PHOTO)

The 435-member Alabama Republican Executive Committee on Saturday voted to reject a proposed bylaws change that would have taken away the ability of Alabama Republican primary voters to elect the delegates to the Republican National Convention every four years. Under the proposal, the Executive Committee themselves would have picked all of the delegates.

The controversial measure was voted down 51 percent to 49 percent. This was a bylaws change so it required a two-thirds majority to pass. The vote was not even close.

The full Alabama Republican Executive Committee was holding its summer meeting at the Trussville Civic Center. Executive Committee members from every county in the state travel to the two Executive Committee meetings each year.

Claire Austin, who represents the Bullock County GOP, said that the committee would be taking away the people’s right to vote.

Joseph Fuller, who chairs the Bylaws Committee and represents the 3rd Congressional District on the ALGOP Steering Committee, argued for the change saying that having all of those delegate races on the ballot confuses primary voters and that 34 other states do not elect their convention delegates.

Fuller said the change was proposed by Elbert Peters of Madison County, who could not attend because of his health. One delegate from Jefferson County accused proponents of the change of trying to take away democracy. This same bylaw change was proposed at last year’s summer meeting and rejected by the Executive Committee then as well.

Republican primary voters on March 3 elected 47 delegates to the Republican National Convention in Charlotte. The Alabama Republican Executive Committee elected 47 alternate delegates in May. This year’s GOP convention has been canceled by President Donald Trump because of the growing danger of contracting COVID-19 by mixing so many people across the country into a packed convention hall.

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The Executive Committee did approve a bylaws change allowing that in a declared state of emergency that a meeting of the Executive Committee could be done online.

Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan said that she had talked to some members who were afraid to attend Saturday’s meeting because of the coronavirus threat.

There was a live feed so that members who did not attend the summer meeting in person could watch online, but because there was no provision in the bylaws for remote participation, they did not count toward achieving a quorum and could not vote on the proposed bylaws changes, resolutions or on selecting delegates to the electoral college.

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Due to so many members fearing exposing themselves to the coronavirus and wrecks on I-65 slowing traffic, it was over 30 minutes into the event before the Executive Committee had a quorum and could conduct business. The traditional fundraising luncheon was canceled this year due to COVID-19 fears. Lathan said that there may be a virtual fundraiser later in the year to address the shortfall.

The Alabama Republican Executive Committee meets two times a year. The 21-member Republican Steering Committee conducts regular business for the party and meets much more frequently.

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

Breaking down the six amendments on Alabama’s November ballot

What do the six proposed amendments on Alabama’s November ballot do? We answer your questions here.

Eddie Burkhalter

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The Alabama Constitution is believed to be the longest in the world. (STOCK PHOTO)

Alabama voters in the Nov. 3 election will have to decide on whether to add six constitutional amendments to what is already believed to be the longest constitution in the world. 

If approved, three of the amendments won’t actually make substantive changes to state law, however.

To be added to the constitution, the amendments must receive support from a majority of voters.

Amendment 1

Amendment 1 — sponsored by State Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston — would “grant the right to vote to ‘only’ those U.S. citizens who meet the requirements.” 

If approved, the change in the state’s constitution would be to replace wording that the constitution grants the right to vote for “every” U.S. citizen who meets the requirements, to it grants the right to vote for “only” those U.S. citizens who meet the requirements. 

The amendment makes no changes to state voting requirements, and it’s already a federal requirement to be a U.S. citizen to vote. Marsh told WBRC that the amendment “sends a message to Washington.” Opponents to Amendment 1 say it could make it easier for the GOP-controlled Legislature to restrict voting rights.

Amendment 2

Amendment 2 processes numerous changes to the state’s judicial system, including a change that would allow Alabama Supreme Court, rather than the Chief Justice, to appoint the Administrative Director of Courts. 

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The amendment would also increase the Judicial Inquiry Commission from nine members to 11 and would  allow Governor, rather than the Lieutenant Governor, to appoint a member of the Court of the Judiciary. 

If approved, it would also prevent automatic disqualification from holding public offices for a judge solely because a complaint was filed with the Judiciary Inquiry Commission. Additionally, it would provide that a judge can be removed from office only by the Court of the Judiciary.

Amendment 3

Amendment 3 would extend the time appointed district and circuit court judges serve. State law now mandates appointed judges serve one year, or until the end of the term of the judge whom they were appointed to replace, whichever is longer.  

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The amendment would allow the appointed judge to serve two years before running to keep their judgeship in an election. 

Amendment 4

Amendment 4 would allow “a rearranged version of the state constitution” to be drafted to “remove racist language,” “remove language that is repeated or no longer applies,”  “combine language related to economic development”  and “combine language that relates to the same county.”

 The rearranged version of the state constitution would have to be drafted by the state Legislature in 2022, according to the amendment, and the new draft wouldn’t become law until approved by a majority of voters.

Amendments 5 and 6

Amendments 5 and 6 relate to Franklin and Lauderdale counties only, and if approved, would add to the state constitution that “a person is not liable for using deadly physical force in self-defense or in the defense of another person on the premises of a church under certain conditions” in both of those counties. 

Alabama already has a “stand your ground” that applies to the use of deadly force in churches, however. 

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall in a Jan. 2 statement, following the West Freeway Church of Christ shooting in White Settlement, Texas, wrote that Alabama law “does not impose a duty to retreat from an attacker in any place in which one is lawfully present.”

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Elections

State is prepared for heavy increase in mail-in absentee ballots, Merrill says

The final tally of absentee ballots returned is expected to be between 150,000 and 175,000, Merrill said.

Micah Danney

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(STOCK PHOTO)

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said the state is on track to far exceed its record for highest number of absentee ballots in an election, but he’s confident that his office is prepared for it.

“There’s no reason to be worried about it because, see, I don’t wait ‘til the last minute to make sure that we’re prepared,” Merrill said. 

As of Tuesday, there were 101,092 absentee ballots requested. Of those, 35,184 have been successfully returned. The final tally of absentee ballots returned is expected to be between 150,000 and 175,000, Merrill said.

The highest number on record was roughly 89,000 in the 2012 general election, when President Barack Obama was re-elected, but Republican nominee Mitt Romney won Alabama. The second-highest was about 88,000 in 2016, when President Donald Trump was elected, winning Alabama.

Additional election workers have been hired and more are available should they be needed, Merrill said. His office has provided extra ballot tabulators to ensure that the state’s 68 jurisdictions are able to do a full count on Election Day. Merrill said that all ballots in the state’s possession on Nov. 3 will be counted that day.

He didn’t say whether there are indications that slowdowns in the operations of the U.S. Postal Service might affect voters, but he encouraged anyone planning to vote absentee to request their ballot as soon as possible to avoid last-minute problems.

Voters who plan to cast absentee ballots or who have started that process can check the status of their ballot online

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“Through using our online portal, Alabama voters can check when their absentee ballot was sent out by the county, when their absentee ballot was returned to the county, and whether the ballot was accepted or rejected,” Merrill said.

He stressed that his office is the only authoritative source for accurate and current information about the election. His office has identified issues with mailers from both conservative and liberal groups that include information about voting by mail, Merrill said. In the case of one distributed by the national Democratic Party, he said his office reached out to the Alabama Democratic Party to address erroneous information it had on it.

All voters should be cautious about third-party information, he said, and carefully follow instructions issued by his office.

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For those voting absentee, it’s especially important that they check the boxes on both the ballot application and the ballot that indicates they are voting by mail because they are “ill or infirmed” and can’t make it to their polling place. That option is available to anyone who wants to vote absentee due to concerns about COVID-19.

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Elections

Alabama Republicans compliment Trump on debate performance

The general election will be on Nov. 3. There are two more debates scheduled in October.

Brandon Moseley

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President Donald Trump, left, and former Vice President Joe Biden, right, are running for president in 2020.

Alabama Republicans said that Republican President Donald Trump demonstrated in Tuesday’s presidential debate in Cleveland that he deserves four more years as president of the United States.

The general election will be on Nov. 3. There are two more debates scheduled in October.

Alabama Republican Party Chair Terry Lathan

Alabama Republican Party Chair Terry Lathan said in a statement: “President Trump swiftly demonstrated that his ‘Promises Made, Promises Kept’ record will continue for four more years. The comparison between the two agendas couldn’t be starker. The President’s record in 47 months compared to Joe Biden’s 47 years in office is monumental. President Trump highlighted many of his policies. Joe Biden shared none of his.”

“The topic of Obamacare was clear on the differences in the debate,” Lathan continued. “President Trump removed the individual mandated healthcare tax, implemented price lists for medical procedures and medicines and has cut drug prices. Joe Biden wants to expand government healthcare as he admitted in the debate. Americans are opposed to more government in their healthcare decisions.”

“The wide difference of opening up states to grow our economy was day and night,” Lathan stated. “President Trump wants to open up our economy, as it is already strongly rebounding, while Joe Biden wants to keep it closed by his own words. Joe Biden said he was against defunding the police, however he earlier said he was for defunding them and wanted to use the money in the community instead. He also couldn’t name any first responder groups who have endorsed him while President Trump has a large number of endorsements across the nation. Clearly, this shows where the law enforcement communities stand as the President has stood with them.”

“The President moved quickly with a massive response to the COVID pandemic. He shut down travel with China early on over Democrat objections, including Joe Biden, and instituted ‘Operation Warp Speed’ that is now producing rapid testing and vaccines,” Lathan stated. “Joe Biden said he would do what has already been done by President Trump when pushed on his plan. President Trump made a strong case why he and the U.S. Senate should move swiftly to fill the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy with highly qualified jurist Amy Coney Barrett. Joe Biden continues to hide his list of potential Supreme Court nominees and would not agree to address ‘packing’ the Supreme Court when directly asked.”

“President Trump rejected the radical environmental ‘New Green Deal’ while Joe Biden said he did too, however Mr. Biden is on record embracing it – multiple times,” Lathan said. “He is all over the place on this left-wing AOC agenda. Joe Biden wants to count votes days after they come in past November 3rd as he admitted in the debate. Laws of states prohibit this chaos and courts are stopping it on a daily basis. Americans want someone who will fight for them to keep our country safe and great. President Trump showed tonight he’s a heavyweight fighter who has been putting America first. That’s why President Trump will win re-election on November 3rd.”

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Congressional candidate Barry Moore

“Joe Biden has 47 years of experience at dodging, evading and just flat-out refusing to answer questions on real issues, and it showed during the debate,” Congressional candidate Barry Moore said. “For decades, he’s made a career of empty platitudes, vague accusations and deliberate misstatements, and that was what we saw Tuesday on stage. Joe Biden did everything short of walking off stage to keep from giving specifics about what he will do as President, except for eliminating the Trump tax cuts and raising our taxes to finance his party’s radical agenda. Mr. Biden did that because he’s a politician to the core and that’s what he’s done for his entire career.”

“Donald Trump, on the other hand, doesn’t act like a politician even after nearly four years as President,” Moore continued. “He answered questions directly with facts about his record, and didn’t let Joe Biden get away with his usual waffling, lies, and empty promises. The President’s personal style is confrontative, and I understand that some people don’t like that. But, I also know many, many people who welcome Donald Trump’s standing up to the bullies of the Left, and he did a great job confronting Joe Biden with Biden’s own statements and record.”

“The American people have a clear choice: a man who’s spent nearly half a century as a politician and accomplished little or nothing, or a President who gave us three years of booming economy and is leading us during this pandemic with confidence and conviction,” Moore concluded. “Donald J. Trump is clearly the best choice to be our President for the next four years.”

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Moore is the Republican nominee in Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District. Moore faces Democratic nominee Phyllis Harvey Hall for the seat currently held by Congresswoman Martha Roby, R-Alabama.

Trump Victory Finance Committee member Perry Hooper Jr.

“The Liberal News media is saying that Biden won the Debate,” said Trump Victory Finance Committee member Perry Hooper Jr. “I thought the President won the Debate on the issues.”

“I enjoyed hosting a Trump Debate Watch Party last night. Country music Artist And Runner Up Miss Alabama performed for us before the Debate,” Hooper added. “She sang The National Anthem, Proud to be an American and Eye of the Tiger. Everybody says that the President won the debate but they also are saying he was to aggressive. Come on friends, Trump was Trump and that why we like him. I think the President killed Biden when Biden could not denounce violence and antifa. He hasn’t even called the Democrat Governors and asked them to stop the violence. It’s plain and simple that Biden is beholding to the Left Wing.”

National Federation of Republican Women President Ann Schockett

“President Trump clearly demonstrated how he has accomplished more in 47 months than his opponent has in 47 years of being a career politician,” National Federation of Republican Women President Ann Schockett said. “The President successfully highlighted an historic record of promises kept for the American people and strongly articulated a clear case for guiding our nation to even greater heights during a second term. He emphasized his efforts to combat the pandemic, reignite the economy, champion our first responders and military, uphold the rule of law, and nominate exceptional Supreme Court justices.”

“Joe Biden, as vice president, had presided over the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression and has little to show for decades spent in Washington D.C.,” Schockett continued. “He evaded questions and offered misleading rhetoric to conceal his true agenda of dangerous radical proposals that would wreck our economy, destroy American jobs, undermine our energy independence, and dismantle and destroy our Constitution and country.”

“Affirming the President’s words during the debate that we have to go back to our core values of our country, the NFRW is confident that four more of years of Donald Trump will bring a thriving economy and safer communities,” Schockett concluded. “He is a President who defends our rights and freedoms, loves our country, and embraces what makes America exceptional. Our NFRW army is hard at work getting out the vote for President Trump and our Republican candidates. We’re ready for Election Day.”

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Elections

The first presidential debate was held Tuesday

Below are some key moments from the debate.

Brandon Moseley

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President Donald Trump, left, and former Vice President Joe Biden, right, are running for president in 2020.

The first presidential debate was held in Cleveland, Ohio, on Tuesday between President Donald Trump and Vice President Joe Biden.

Below are some key moments from the debate. The two candidates bitterly disagreed on what would happen in the election due to the unprecedented amount of mail in election ballots.

Two more debates are planned before the Nov. 3 general election.

On Trump’s Supreme Court nomination

“Elections have consequences, we have the Senate, and we have the White House,” Trump said. “She is outstanding. … We won the election, and we have the right to do it.”

“The American people have a right to say who that nominee is,” Biden said. “We should wait and see what the outcome of this election is.”

“Are you going to pack the court, Joe?” Trump asked.

“I am not going to answer that,” Biden replied.

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On the Democratic health care reform plan

“Your party is socialist,” Trump said of the Democratic health reform plan.

Biden said that the public option was just for those that qualify for Medicaid.

“It is only for people who qualify for Medicaid. The vast majority of the American people would not be in that option,” Biden said. He denied Trump’s charge that the Democratic health care plan was socialist.

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“I am the Democratic Party,” Biden said. “The platform is what I say it is.”

On the Republican health care reform plan

“We are going to let our governors go to other countries to buy drugs,” Trump said of his plan to reform health care.

“Everything he is saying tonight is a lie,” Biden said. “He is a liar, everyone knows it.”

“I want to give them better health care at a better price,” Trump said. “Obamacare was not good. We got rid of the individual mandate.”

“He has no plan for healthcare,” Biden said. “Like everything else he is talking about, he does not have a plan.”

On the coronavirus pandemic

“200,000 dead, over 7 million are infected,” Biden said of the COVID-19 crisis. “The president has no plan.”

“We should be providing the money the House has passed so businesses can stay open,” Biden said. “You need to get out of your bunker, get out of your sand trap.”

“The governors said I did a phenomenal job, most of them said that,” Trump said. “We are weeks away from a vaccine. Therapeutics are already underway.”

“I have spoken to the companies, and we can have it a lot sooner,” Trump said of when the vaccine will be available.

“I have spoken to the scientists, and they will have a vaccine real soon,” Trump said.

Biden criticized Trump’s campaign rallies.

“He has been totally irresponsible, the way that he has handled the crowds, the way that he has handled the social distancing,” Biden said.

“We built the greatest economy in the world. We shut it down because of the China plague,” Trump said. “They have got to open these states up. It is very sad what is going on with divorce and alcoholism.”

“He is going to be the first President in American history to leave office with fewer jobs than when he became President,” Biden said. “You can’t fix the economy until you fix the COVID crisis.”

On Trump’s tax returns

Trump claimed that he paid millions of dollars in taxes in 2016 and 2017 when asked about a New York Times story that showed he paid just $750 in federal income taxes.

“You are the worst President America has ever had,” Biden said.

“I have done more in 47 months than you have done in 47 years,” Trump replied.

Trump said that Biden was not smart and finished last in his college class.

On the economy

“My economic plan would create seven million more than his plan would and would create a trillion more in growth,” Biden said.

Biden said that he wanted to raise the corporate tax rate to 28 percent from the current 21 percent.

“You will lose half the companies that poured in and will have the greatest depression you have ever seen,” Trump responded.

On crime rates, protests and racial justice

“We believe in law and order, and you don’t Joe,” Trump said.

“Violence in response is never appropriate,” Biden said of some Black Lives Matter protests that have turned violent.

“What I support is the police have the opportunity to deal with the problems that they face, and I totally oppose defunding the police,” Biden said.

“Name one law enforcement group that supports you,” Trump said.

Trump when asked if he would condemn racists and white supremacists, said “yes.” But when asked about the Proud Boys, he said that they “should stand back and stand by,” adding a qualifier that most of the problems are coming from the far left.

Biden called Trump a racist and accused of using 1950s racist dog whistles.

On who should win and why

“There has never been an administration or a president that has done more than I have done in three and a half years,” Trump said of why he should be re-elected.

“Under this President we have become weaker, sicker, poorer, and more violent,” Biden replied.

On climate change

“As far as the fires, you need forest management,” Trump said when asked if climate change was causing forest fires in the West. “If you had good forest management you wouldn’t be having that problem.”

“We can get to net zero energy production by 2035 while still creating jobs,” Biden said.

“That is more money than our country could make in one hundred years,” Pres. Trump said of Biden’s environmental plan.

“The Green New Deal is not my plan,” Biden replied. “The Biden plan is different from what he calls the Green New Deal.”

Biden said that he would get the U.S. back into the Paris Climate Accords.

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