Gov. Kay Ivey on Monday signed into law a bill that would levy criminal penalties for voting in an election in Alabama, then voting again in the same election in another state.
Rep. Chris Blackshear, R-Phenix City, introduced House Bill 167, and said during debate on the bill in the House that the bill is meant to be proactive. The law pertains to presidential elections. Blackshear said six people did as much in 2016, although it’s unclear whether they did so intentionally because those cases haven’t been investigated.
“In Alabama, I am committed to ensuring we have free, fair and safe elections and am proud to sign this important bill into law,” Ivey said in a statement. “Thank you to Rep. Chris Blackshear for his good work in the Legislature and for his help to further secure Alabama elections. Alabamians can be proud of Rep. Blackshear and feel even more confident in our elections. I will always work to protect the voices of the people of our great state.”
House Democrats decried the bill as an unnecessary reaction to the election of President Joe Biden, and said such bills come in place of others they deem more critical.
“I wish we can be proactive about criminal justice reform,” said Rep. Chris England, D-Birmingham, during House debates on the bill. “I wish that we could be proactive about Medicaid expansion. I wish that we could be proactive in trying to figure out a way to deal with our crisis in our criminal justice system.”
Blackshear’s bill at first levied a Class C felony, which could result in a 10-year sentence and count toward a possible habitual offender offense, upon first conviction. England had asked that Blackshear consider reducing that first conviction to a Class A misdemeanor, which Blackshear agreed to do.
Upon a second conviction of voting twice in the same election, a person could face a Class C felony, according to the final version of the legislation.