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Alabama Democratic leadership criticize Republicans for “undemocratic” comments

What drew the ire of Democrats was a continuous series of statements alluding to fraud but providing no evidence.

Alabama Democrats on Sunday told Republicans in the state to put up or shut up. Fed up with ALGOP members, such as party chair Terry Lathan, Secretary of State John Merrill and various elected officials, making vague, unspecified allegations of voter fraud occurring with the presidential election, Democratic leadership issued statements asking that they either provide specific, detailed accounts of the fraud they’re alluding to or accept the results of an election that was, in the words of former President George W. Bush, “fair.”

“It is dismaying to hear Republicans, especially those in Alabama, make false and unverified claims of election fraud simply because they’re having a hard time accepting the outcome of an election, which former President Bush described as ‘fundamentally fair, its integrity will be upheld, and its outcome is clear,’” a statement from House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels read. 

“These GOP officials know full well that it is impossible for such a mass scale fraud to occur, and to suggest such is anti-American, anti-democratic and undermines the work and sacrifice of thousands of poll workers and elections officials,” Daniels continued. “The fact is that every state in the nation, including Alabama, is still counting properly cast, legal votes. To suggest that this process is abnormal, or that simple changes to accommodate for a global pandemic were subverting the law, is pathetic and something you would expect from supporters of third-world dictators.”

What drew the ire of Democrats was a continuous series of statements in media interviews, Tweets and Facebook posts from various ALGOP officials, in which they alluded to election fraud or irregularities, but either referenced specific incidents that have long been debunked or provided no real specifics at all. 

For example, Lathan, in comments to al.com, cited these specific incidents: “… judges making up last minute election laws (which is illegal), not allowing Republican poll watchers in the counting facilities or corralling them so far away you can’t ‘watch’ or see the process that is allowed by law, officials ignoring state laws, ineligible voters who voted….”

Numerous legal decisions were made in the lead-up to the 2020 election, most of them centered on pandemic-related changes to the election rules in some states. Such changes occurred in Alabama, where Merrill and Gov. Kay Ivey each made significant changes to both how Alabamians could vote and how mailed absentee ballots could be counted. 

“It should not be forgotten that Alabama, at the direction of Gov. Ivey and Secretary of State Merrill, made several changes to election procedures in this state, including allowing for, effectively, no-excuse absentee voting and for the early counting of absentee ballots,” Daniels said. “Both changes were proper and neither invalidated the votes or the process.”

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Republican poll watchers also were not prevented from entering processing facilities or singled out in any way. A judge in Pennsylvania ruled that watchers from both parties could be allowed within six feet, instead of the 20-plus that the state had implemented. The vote-counting process in that state is also being live-streamed online for anyone to watch. 

Ineligible voters are in issue at every precinct in every election in America, usually due to simple mistakes that are caught and corrected. Such issues are common and are one reason vote counting takes weeks in every national election. 

There has been no evidence or even allegations of widespread problems with elections officials failing to follow state laws. 

“Let’s be crystal clear about this: America depends on free and fair elections, and public confidence in their elections officials,” Alabama Democratic Party chairman Chris England said. “Baseless allegations of voter fraud undermine that public confidence. If people have evidence of fraud in the process, they should bring it to court. But it’s condemnable to bamboozle the public by spinning simple administrative errors and conspiracy theories.

“Every patriotic American, regardless of party affiliation, should speak out against the President’s dangerous attacks on our institutions. For too long, my Republican friends have coddled, encouraged, and dabbled with this sort of stuff. It’s poisonous to our citizens. If they sow the wind on this, they’ll eventually reap the whirlwind.”

Another theme of the ALGOP allegations centered on other states’ issues with slow counts. Merrill, Lathan, Rep. Robert Aderholt, Rep. Mo Brooks and others all praised Alabama’s “efficient” elections process and vote counting, saying it could be a model for the nation. At the same time, they blasted other states for taking days to count incoming absentee/mail-in votes and for allowing an extended period of time for those ballots to reach their states. 

It’s a curious criticism given that Alabama is still counting votes, and voters from this state who were required to vote with provisional ballots had until Friday to prove their eligibility, and those overseas and in the military who voted absentee have until Nov. 10 to get their ballots in. County election boards will begin counting those ballots and certifying their results on Tuesday. As of Monday, however, not a single county in Alabama has certified its election results. 

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“It’s not news that counting ballots for any election takes time, and a greater number of ballots take longer to count,” England said. “Elections take time to administer, and it’s more important to get the count right than to get it fast.”

Daniels noted that while the vote-counting in Alabama continues, Alabama Democrats aren’t raising questions about the process simply because they don’t like the results. 

“While the results (of the election) were mostly unfavorable to Alabama Democrats, like adults, we accepted the results, congratulated our opponents and promised to work together to move this state and country ahead,” Daniels said. “It’s time that Republicans did the same and stopped these embarrassing, undemocratic games.”

Josh Moon
Written By

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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