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Doug Jones makes pitch for early voting — ‘More important’ to Alabama than vote-by-mail

There’s a movement afoot in Democratic Party ranks around the country to allow for voting by mail given the coronavirus pandemic. For critics, it has been seen as Democrats using a crisis to score a political advantage.

U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook) is not opposed to the vote-by-mail movement. However, he argues early voting would be more useful for Alabamians.

During an appearance on Huntsville radio’s WVNN on Friday, Jones lobbied for Alabama to adopt early voting, especially given the coronavirus pandemic.

“I think we should be making every effort to give everyone in this state the easiest access to the ballot box we possibly can,” Jones said. “If that means doing something to help expand the opportunities to vote by mail, I think we can do it. I think if you look in states that have expanded opportunities to vote by mail — and in some cases, total vote by mail — we’ve not seen any problems. They’ve not seen any fraud. They got the controls necessary. You’ve got to look at it. It’s not something you can decide to do overnight and get it done. I think that would help.”

“I think the most significant thing for Alabama right now would be early voting,” he continued. “It’s crazy for us to think that we should just open our polls and you vote, either with a really restrictive absentee ballot — really tough to vote absentee in Alabama right now — or the only other opportunity is to vote in a 12-hour window between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. when we don’t know what the weather is going to be, we don’t know if this pandemic is still going to be there, or people are going to be concerned. If we had an opportunity in a really smart way to do some early voting — not with every polling place, but a certain number in each county over the course of a couple of weeks and the weekend so we can use the social distancing, give people that are working folks the opportunity to do this and not have to stand in line, I think that would be a tremendous boost for Alabama, and I think that would be a tremendous boost for our turnout.”

Jones argued there was a distinction between voter registration, a statistic often touted by Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, and vote participation, which he indicated was another reason to consider early voting.

“Right now, folks boast about how many people are registered to vote in Alabama, which is great,” Jones added. “But there’s a boatload of communities that have never voted. And our numbers are still down in terms of overall voting. Early voting, I think, is more important to us than mail-in votes.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly and host of Huntsville’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN.