2 years ago

Bernie Sanders: Alabama Republicans are ‘cowards’ for implementing voter ID requirement

Bernie Sanders
Photo by Gage Skidmore

Socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who is running in the Democratic primary, declared via twitter Sunday that Republicans in Alabama are “cowards” for “suppressing” the votes of low income people, minorities, young people and seniors. This comes in response to the recent closure of 31 satellite Drivers’ License offices across Alabama. Sanders joins fellow Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in criticizing Republican leadership in Alabama and the GOP support for ID laws Clinton says makes voting harder for people of color and young people, two groups critical to her chances of winning the presidency, according to The Washington Post.

The closures have been met with criticism by the national media, Democrats, and voting rights advocates all across the country. On Friday, Bentley partially reversed the decision, saying that the offices would open in the affected areas once a month.

“To suggest the closure of the driver’s license offices is a racial issue is simply not true, and to suggest otherwise should be considered an effort to promote a political agenda,” said Bentley.

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, who is responsible for administering and overseeing elections, says there will still be multiple opportunities for people in every county to obtain an I.D. valid at the polling booth.

“The closure of 31 DMV offices will not leave citizens without a place to receive the required I.D. card to vote,” said Secretary Merrill. “All 67 counties in Alabama have a Board of Registrars that issue photo voter I.D. cards. If for some reason those citizens are not able to make it to the Board of Registrars, we’ll bring our mobile I.D. van and crew to that county. By October 31 our office will have brought the mobile I.D. van to every county in Alabama at least once.

Alabama’s new voter-ID law for both in-person and absentee voting went into effect last year and until now, hasn’t received negative feedback. Alabama has a total of 44 driver’s-license offices throughout the state. It also has 31 satellite offices that were open only part-time and that accounted for less than 5 percent of the driver’s licenses issued each year. Because of the budget passed by the state legislature, Alabama’s state government had to do away with limited resources. So the state government decided to close these satellite offices.

What all of the media and critics missed or deliberately ignored is that, in addition to being able to use a driver’s license to meet the voter-ID requirement, you can get a free voter ID in every single county in the state. In addition to DMV offices, the secretary of state offers free voter IDs in all 67 counties through the local election registrar.

“One of the most fundamental rights we as Americans are afforded is our right to vote,” says Secretary Merrill. “As Alabama’s Secretary of State and Chief Elections Official, I will do everything within my power to ensure every Alabamian is able to exercise their right to vote.”


2 mins ago

Alabama Secretary of State to Facebook: ‘Don’t say you helped us with something if you didn’t help’

Secretary of State John Merrill challenged Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s revelation that his company helped disrupt the spreading of false information during Alabama’s special U.S. Senate election last December, telling Yellowhammer News that he has been shown no evidence to support Zuckerberg’s claim.

In an interview published Thursday, Zuckerberg revealed to the New York Times that his company targeted and eliminated a “significant number of fake Macedonian accounts that were trying to spread false news” about Alabama’s election.

Merrill’s office spoke with Facebook’s Government and Politics Team on Thursday to follow up about Zuckerberg’s claims.


“We said, ‘we don’t know what you’re talking about.’ We wanted one specific example,” Merrill said.

Just a week before the election in December, a deceptive campaign ad implying that voters’ ballot selections would be made public was spread on Google and Facebook. Merrill’s office contacted both Google and Facebook and asked for the ad to be removed. Google removed it, but Facebook did not.

Merrill said Facebook never responded about the ad.

“We believe that people in each state need to have accurate information that’s truthful,” Merrill said. “If [Facebook] can’t use their platform for that, they shouldn’t allow that kind of content be published.”

He continued, “For future races, I think it’s important that Facebook be available to address serious issues, for candidates, for officials, and be responsive in that they hear what the accusations are and evaluate merits of the claim.”

Facebook is receiving pressure from all sides after recent reports revealed that it allowed Cambridge Analytica, a private data firm associated with President Donald Trump’s campaign, to mine data of more than 50 million of the platform’s users without their permission.

Merrill said that he hopes the pressure will lead to some change.

“I think they’ll be more responsive,” he said. “The people will hold them more accountable. I hope people will hold them more accountable.”

@jeremywbeaman is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News

32 mins ago

Lawsuit over HealthSouth fraud cleared to move forward

The Alabama Supreme Court says one-time employees of the old HealthSouth Corp. can move ahead with a lawsuit over the fraud that nearly wrecked the Birmingham-based company.

The justices overturned a lower court decision blocking the lawsuit in a decision Friday.


HealthSouth survived a massive fraud scandal in the early 2000s that resulted in the ouster of founder Richard Scrushy. The company now calls itself Encompass Health.

One-time employee shareholders filed suit in 2003 over the fraud, but the case was delayed 11 years. The court now says the latest version of the lawsuit is related to the original complaint and can go forward.

Encompass Health operates 127 hospitals and 237 home health and hospice locations in 36 states and Puerto Rico.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

1 hour ago

In a fistfight between Trump and Biden, Congressman Robert Aderholt is calling Trump all the way

We have seen Ali-Frazier, we watched The Rock-Hulk Hogan, and if Vince McMahon could stop screwing around with the XFL reboot, maybe we could get “Crazy Uncle Joe” vs. The Donald.

This is a match where everyone would win because two of America’s largest big mouths would get punched in the mouth. We could raise some money: if Biden wins, the money could go to pay for illegal aliens college scholarships and if Trump wins, the purse could go towards a big beautiful wall.

Even though this fight will never happen, Congressman Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) was on the radio this morning and he thinks Trump would clean Biden’s clock:

“No question Donald Trump would win. That’s an easy one. Well, you know, if you have ever been around Donald Trump he is a big man, and of course I know that Biden isn’t a small guy. But Trump is a big guy, full of adrenaline and energy and I wouldn’t  even think twice about it.”

Why this matters: The back-and-forth threats between Biden and Trump are undignified and trashy. Biden is a former Vice President who should know better, but clearly doesn’t. What he does know, through his history of gaffes and boorish statements, is that he will suffer no consequences for being a jerk. He also knows that President Trump cannot help himself to respond. And even though he responds with the same foolishness, he will be treated as the aggressor and the bad guy.


The details:

— President Trump has 3 inches on Joe Biden and would have a marginally longer reach.

— Biden is in far better shape than the president, he works out regularly and it would be almost impossible for Biden to have a worse diet than Trump.

— Both individuals claim to be men of the people, but neither has any real tough-guy credentials. Trump has been a millionaire loudmouth his entire life while Biden has been a politician for more than 40 years.

— Trump would truly best Biden when it comes to trash talk, Trump uses Twitter to regularly spar with friends and foes alike, while Biden prefers to let the mainstream media do most of his talking.

Listen to the interview with Congressman Robert Aderholt here:

Dale Jackson hosts a daily radio show from 7-11 a.m. on NewsTalk 770 AM/92.5 FM WVNN and a weekly television show, “Guerrilla Politics,” on WAAY-TV, both in North Alabama. Follow him @TheDaleJackson.

2 hours ago

2 charged in overdose death, photos of body posted online

Two teenagers in Alabama are accused of posting photos on social media of an overdosed teenager’s body before deciding to drive her to a hospital.

Al.com reported Thursday that Marshall County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Heath Thomas says 19-year-old John Garrett Guffey and 18-year-old Lillie Marie Cooper were indicted on charges of corpse abuse and criminally negligent homicide.


Thomas says that in April 2017, the pair decided to take her, but their vehicle ran out of gas. Firefighters were called to a Mapco station to help the unresponsive passenger.

Investigators determined she died from an overdose at a home.

A prosecutor wasn’t available for comment to Al.com and the sheriff’s office didn’t release further details.

The teenagers are jailed with bail set at $10,000. It is unclear if they have lawyers.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

3 hours ago

Trial date set for Alabama officer charged with murder

A judge has set a trial date for a police officer charged with murder in the shooting death of a man in Montgomery, Alabama.

A court order released Thursday says Aaron Cody Smith will go on trial Aug. 13. A hearing in the case is set for a few days earlier.


Smith is charged in the 2016 shooting death of 58-year-old Greg Gunn, who authorities say was walking in his neighborhood when Smith shot him. The confrontation began when the officer stopped Gunn shortly after 3 a.m.

Smith’s attorney says the officer is innocent. The defense has portrayed the white officer as a victim of racial prejudice since Montgomery is mostly black and the man who was killed was black.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)