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Senate carries over election audit bill

The Senate carried over Senate Bill 45 which would authorize a limited post-election audit following the 2022 election.

(STOCK PHOTO)

The Alabama Senate on Tuesday carried over Senate Bill 45 by state Sen. Billy Beasley, D-Clayton, to do a limited post election audit to determine the accuracy of Alabama elections following the 2022 election.

Beasley said that the secretary of state’s office received $800,000 to conduct the limited, post-election audit from the federal government.

“It is not going to take any money out of the state general fund, and I don’t think it is going to take any money out of the counties involved,” Beasley explained. “The audit will include a North Alabama county, a Central Alabama county and a South Alabama county. One county has to be of large population and one has to be rural.”

Beasley said that the counties do not have to agree to do it.

“The county commission has to approve it,” Beasley said.

Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro said: “It is very seldom that I have pause with one of my own member’s bill, but this is one of those times. … I question the necessity of the bill. The former President of the United States was screaming about audits after the November election.”

This had been introduced during the last session, but lawmakers did not get to it before COVID-19 interrupted the session, Beasley said: “This was pre the presidential race.” 

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“We run good elections in Alabama,” Singleton said. “That kind of fraud does not prevail in our elections.”

Beasley explained: “38 other states currently have a post-election audit pilot program.”

“They probably need it,” Singleton said. “What if they pick Bullock County, Jefferson County, and Mobile County, and they miss Winston and Cleburne County and what goes on there?”

“If this was the 1980s and 1990s where I know these were going on and people were going to jail for voter fraud I would understand it,” Singleton said.

Beasley responded, “I would like to suggest to the secretary of state to pick one predominately Democratic county and one predominately Republican county — maybe two Republican counties. This is being paid for with $800,0000 of federal money that has come down from the federal government.”

Singleton said he would like to meet with the secretary of state, and Beasley promised to engage a meeting with the secretary of state “at his earliest convenience.”

“I think the secretary of state does a good job, working through this time of COVID,” Singleton said.

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Beasley agreed to carry over Senate Bill 45 until after he and Beasley could have their meeting with Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill.

SB45 could come back before the Senate at any time. The Alabama Senate will meet for their eighth legislative day at 4 p.m. on Feb. 24.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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