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Sec. Allen: Eliminating ballot harvesting will ‘protect’ absentee voting

Alabama Secretary of State Wes Allen believes banning certain types of ballot harvesting in the state will help the make the absentee voting process more secure.

Allen is hoping that in the next session lawmakers will be able to pass SB1, which is bill that would make it illegal to pay, or to be paid by a third party to collect absentee ballot applications or absentee ballots from Alabama voters.

The law is being carried by State Sen. Garland Gudger (R-Cullman).

The Secretary of State discussed the issue recently on Alabama Public Television’s “Capitol Journal.”

“We’re very supportive of SB1 because it strengthens the absentee process,” Allen said. “Even opponents of the bill admitted last year that any time there’s voter fraud in Alabama it’s normally in the orbit of absentee voting.”

Allen argued that he supports an election system that cannot be abused.

“I want everybody to hear me, we’ve got to keep our absentee voting process the way we have it, but we need to strengthen it to make sure it cannot be manipulated,” he said. “I want everybody to hear me and understand me. This bill does not disenfranchise anybody that is disabled…It does not affect the military and overseas voters at all because we can never take away someone’s right to vote if they’re overseas defending our country. We protect it. We protect the absentee process.”

RELATED: Allen launches ‘clean and accurate’ voter database

Responding to critics who say this is just an attempt to prevent people from voting, Allen said they’re just “not being truthful about the bill and what it does.”

“We want to make sure that the ballot traffickers and ballot harvesters can’t pay someone or can’t receive payment for going out and helping someone with their application and manipulating the process,” he continued. “And also another thing that this bill does is protects the manipulation of the absentee process when these organizations from out of state send these applications that are pre-filled to these homes or wherever they go.”

Allen emphasized that the this bill is really just about ensuring trust in the voting system.

“We just want to make sure we strengthen the absentee process,” he said, “but at the same time making sure that we don’t disenfranchise those who want to vote absentee because absentee voting is an integral part, it’s an important part of the voting process, and we want to make sure that we protect it but also strengthen it.”

Yaffee is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts “The Yaffee Program” weekdays 9-11 a.m. on WVNN. You can follow him on Twitter @Yaffee

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