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Opinion | Ballot harvesting leads list of Alabama Senate’s conservative priorities

No greater priority exists than ensuring the integrity of our elections.

Senate President Pro Tem Greg Reed

Alabama is a conservative state, and the citizens of our state have never shied away from standing up for their values.

In Alabama, there are bedrock principles by which we live and govern.

We’re steadfast in our faith in God. We defend the rule of law. We protect individual freedoms and innocent life. We work to ensure safe communities for our families. For these reasons, we have earned the distinction of being the nation’s most conservative legislature.

These are Alabama’s priorities, and they are the priorities of Republicans in the Alabama Senate.

No greater priority exists than ensuring the integrity of our elections. That’s why our chamber plans to fix the problem of ballot harvesting when we convene for the regular session on February 6. We want to make sure that absentee ballots are handled and cast the right way. Senator Garland Gudger is sponsoring a bill which will be a priority for Republicans in the Alabama Senate. His bill will end the cottage industry of absentee ballot collection in our elections.

Voting is a right that is foundational to our democracy, and we need to make sure that legitimate votes are not being diluted by fraudulent votes. That is why we need stricter laws preventing the unscrupulous pursuit of absentee votes for financial gain. Legitimate use of absentee ballots will fully remain an option, and there is current federal law that outlines specific protections for veterans and people with certain disabilities that our legislation will not affect. The main goal of these efforts will be to make sure that your vote counts, and that those who try to cheat our system are held accountable. We want Alabama’s election laws to be the strongest in the country.

The time is also now for impactful school choice in Alabama. Senator Arthur Orr and Senator Larry Stutts have spent considerable time looking at our state education budget and researching this issue in order to give Alabama families the ability to make decisions regarding their children’s educations. Children are gifts from God, and they are the future of our great state. It is important for us as legislators to allocate resources in fiscally responsible ways to ensure that kids in our communities have every opportunity to be successful. A family’s zip-code should not be the primary indicator of a child’s educational outcome, and we are committed to giving families in Alabama the ability to make decisions regarding their child’s schooling. 

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It has become increasingly clear that unanticipated property tax hikes have burdened Alabama families and businesses. Senator David Sessions has dedicated much effort to solve this problem. Under Joe Biden’s administration, inflation has been debilitating to many families, and unexpected property tax increases only further affect Alabamians’ ability to maintain their current quality of life. Senator Sessions has been working hard to come up with a plan to place some limits how much local authorities can increase property taxes. Alabama families work hard each day to provide for their families, and we are committed to continuing to provide ways that they can keep their hard-earned dollars.

The Alabama Senate is committed to conservative governance. Alabama families and future generations deserve nothing less. Alabama is the best state in the country to live, work, and raise a family, and I am excited to help shepherd these impactful pieces of legislation forward.

Greg Reed is the president pro tempore of the Alabama Senate. He is a Republican who represents Jasper, Alabama.

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