The State of Alabama recently sent a letter to a Mobile woman who died in 1999, inviting her to register to vote in the upcoming November elections. The story was first reported by south Alabama Fox affiliate WALA earlier this week, and subsequently picked up by Yellowhammer News.
Since then, Yellowhammer has received numerous emails from readers saying that this was not an isolated incident, including the handful pasted below.
From a reader named Carolyn:
My mother passed away in 2006 and she received an Alabama Mail-in Voter Registration Form on Monday. I called the SOS division of elections and got the same story you featured about this problem.
I am sick and tired of feeling like my vote doesn’t count when voter fraud is able to wipe it out with one illegal vote.
I know the system isn’t perfect but there is no excuse for soliciting people to sign up using the driver’s license bureau records when they are not purged when a person dies.
This attempt to register voters is flawed, expensive and will no doubt result in voter fraud.
From a reader named Tammy:
Please spread the word to officials. They need a way to check someone’s citizenship. Just because someone has a license does not mean they can vote. My husband received an application to register to vote in the mail. He is a permanent resident alien NOT a US Citizen.
I wonder how many illegal’s or non citizens will take the opportunity and go on line and register anyway.
From a reader named Joyce:
I just read in one of your articles about the person who received a request for voter registration for a dead person. I also received the same letter sent to my husband, [name redacted], for a voter registration. He also passed away three years ago in 2013. I didn’t know if I should do anything about it or not.
From a reader named Clarence:
My wife died in 2011 but she recently received a mail-in voter registration form from the State of Alabama, just like the one you mentioned in your story. Just passing along word that it was not a one-time thing.
From a reader named Lilly:
I have a friend who is a legal alien–NOT an illegal alien–and we were laughing recently about the government inviting her to vote in our elections. Our own government asking people who aren’t allowed to vote to vote?! No wonder everyone believes the elections are rigged.
WALA reported Bob Grip brought the issue to the attention of Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, who said his office is engaging in a large scale voter registration drive that relies on the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s Driver’s License database.
“My office is undertaking a project to identify a large number of Alabamians that are eligible but unregistered to vote,” Merrill explained. “This project utilizes our voter registration information and compares it against a database of Alabamians with a Driver’s License. This allows us to see anyone that would already had a license but may not have previously had the opportunity to register to vote. I apologize for any confusion that this may have caused for your viewer but if you would have them forward the name and address of the individual, we will make sure we identify her to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency so they can update their records.”
During the 2011 Regular Legislative Session Governor Robert Bentley (R-Ala.) signed a voter ID law that went into full effect for the 2014 primary elections. Act 2011-673 requires an Alabama voter to have a specific type of photo identification at the polls in order to vote. Since that time, Democrats across the country have decried the law as “racist” and “hateful”.
The 2016 Democratic Party platform declares, “we will continue to fight against discriminatory voter identification laws, which disproportionately burden young voters, diverse communities, people of color, low income families, people with disabilities, the elderly, and women.”
In an October 2015 visit to Hoover, Hillary Clinton slammed Alabama Republicans for requiring proof of citizenship to vote and for shuttering driver’s license offices in the wake of state budget cuts. The Democratic presidential nominee insisted that both issues were examples of Republicans trying to return Alabama to its Jim Crow past.
“We have to defend the most fundamental right in our democracy, the right to vote,” she said. “No one in this state, no one, should ever forget the history that enabled generations of people left out and left behind to finally be able to vote.”
Before that, Vice President Joe Biden chided supporters of voter ID laws in light of liberal defeat in the Supreme Court case of Shelby County v. Holder which stemmed from a legal challenge in Alabama. “These guys never go away,” Biden said. “Hatred never, never goes away. The zealotry of those who wish to limit the franchise cannot be smothered by reason.”
Shelby County, Ala. sued the U.S. Attorney General in 2011 claiming that portions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that the formula used to determine which areas were subjected to pre-clearance was unconstitutional, effectively gutting that portion of the law.
“Alabama has made tremendous progress over the past 50 years, and this decision by the U.S. Supreme Court recognizes that progress,” Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said at the time. “We will not tolerate discrimination in Alabama.”
Despite calls of racism, Alabama’s implementation of the voter ID law does not seem to have suppressed turnout.
There are currently at least 10 different types of ID that are acceptable to use at the polls (including a driver’s license) and the Secretary of State’s office also offers free Alabama photo voter ID cards and free non-driver IDs for purposes of voting.