Secretary of State candidate Jim Zeigler has proposed a program he dubbed the “Watchman Program” to put poll watchers in every county in Alabama.
Zeigler revealed his plan Wednesday during a speech to the Pike County Republican Women. He told the group the plan seeks to combat “national attempts to manipulate honest election procedures.”
“There is a position already established in Alabama’s election law that is under-utilized – almost ignored,” Zeigler said. “It is the poll watcher … Poll Watchers are granted strong abilities to spot irregularities, to intervene, and to report problems. Properly trained poll watchers can be an added preventive against election fraud.”
Zeigler’s plan is to start a campaign to recruit more poll watchers with a long-range plan of having a poll watcher in every county. The other key is providing free training to the poll watchers on “what election shenanigans to be on the lookout for.”
“Trained and vigilant poll watchers will have a chilling effect on those who would manipulate the polling places,” Zeigler said. “With election misconduct, it is far better to prevent it than to discover it after the fact. The Watchman Program will increase and improve that prevention at very little cost to the public.”
Zeigler also told the members of the Republican Women what a vote for him means, including only U.S. citizens voting in elections, no voting “early and often,” keeping voter ID requirements, and no ballot harvesting, same-day voter registration, drop-off ballot boxes or voting by mail.
“A vote for Jim Zeigler is a vote against all these schemes to manipulate our elections,” Zeigler said. “Election integrity may be the most important single issue. The reason is this: If we lose our ability to elect or defeat officials, then all other issues will have lost accountability to the people. We would have government of the manipulators, by the manipulators, and for the manipulators. A vote for Jim Zeigler is a vote against election by manipulation.”
Zeigler acknowledged that his opponents in the Republican primary all have similar stances to him.
“My three opponents each bring something to the table,” Zeigler said. “They all make excellent speeches … The Bible gives us a guide in decisions of life. It says, ‘By their fruit you shall know them.’ My service as your State Auditor bore fruit, even against the stubborn opposition of RINOs and Montgomery politicians. My track record as your State Auditor shows what I would do as your Secretary of State. Actions speak louder than words.”
The Republican Primary is May 24.