Sec. of State Merrill issues guidance on poll watchers
Ahead of what many expect to be one of the highest turnout elections in modern history, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill is providing guidance to those wishing to serve as a poll watcher on Election Day.
Poll watchers are members of a political party who are allowed inside a precinct while voters cast their ballots to monitor the proceedings. Political parties at the county level nominate poll watchers, who are encouraged to bring proof of their appointment to the polls on Election Day.
Watchers are not allowed to disturb voters, wear any campaign materials, or do any type of persuasion, campaigning, or influencing while at the precinct.
The secretary of state advises that “the name of each poll watcher shall be submitted in writing by the county executive committee or nominees for office to the polling place inspector, noting their appointment.”
Per the secretary of state’s office, the list of what poll watchers are allowed to:
Observe the conduct of the election.
Monitor the preliminaries of opening the polls.
Remain at the polling place throughout the election until the results of the election have been posted and the voting machines are sealed, as provided by law.
Observe the ballots as they are counted.
Observe absentee ballots and affidavits when they are called during the count.
See all oaths administered and signed, the record of assisted voters, the list of qualified voters, the poll lists, and any and all records made in connection with the election.
According to the secretary of state’s office, the numbers to call to be a poll watcher are as follows:
Democratic Party — (334) 262-2221.
Republican Party — (205) 212-5900.
Libertarian Party — (205) 328-8683
If any voter, poll watcher or otherwise, observes voter interference, intimidation or manipulation they can call (334) 242-7210 or go to StopVoterFraudNow.com to report it.
Drug discovered, tested at UAB becomes first fully FDA-approved treatment for COVID-19
Remdesivir on Thursday became the first drug to be fully approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating the coronavirus.
The antiviral produced by the pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences received an emergency use authorization from the FDA in May; Thursday’s announcement will likely expand its usage across the nation. The drug has been approved for the treatment of patients requiring hospitalization.
Remdesivir showed promising results for treating COVID-19 in a much-discussed clinical trial conducted in the spring and early summer. After this trial, White House health advisor and NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci proclaimed to the nation that remdesivir “will be the standard of care” moving forward for coronavirus-positive inpatients. He called the trial results “quite good news.”
The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) was a participating clinical site in the now-famous study and administered the drug to participating patients. However, UAB’s involvement goes significantly farther.
As reported by Yellowhammer News in February, a drug discovery program housed at UAB led to the development of remdesivir. This discovery came from a public-private partnership that also included Birmingham-based Southern Research and Gilead Sciences.
The drug discovery was funded by federal monies awarded to the Antiviral Drug Discovery and Development Center at UAB after U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) became chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations.
Remdesivir was taken by President Donald J. Trump in his recovery from COVID-19, along with Regeneron’s experimental polyclonal antibody cocktail. That cocktail is currently being tested at UAB.
In a Thursday release, Gilead explained the treatment guidelines for remdesivir and reacted to the FDA approval.
“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gilead has worked relentlessly to help find solutions to this global health crisis. It is incredible to be in the position today, less than one year since the earliest case reports of the disease now known as COVID-19, of having an FDA-approved treatment in the U.S. that is available for all appropriate patients in need,” stated Daniel O’Day, chairman and CEO of Gilead Sciences. “The speed and rigor with which [remdesivir] has been developed and approved in the U.S. reflect the shared commitment of Gilead, government agencies and clinical trial investigators to advance well-tolerated, effective treatment options for the fight against COVID-19. We will continue to work at speed with the aim of enhancing patient outcomes with [remdesivir] to ensure all patients with COVID-19 have the best chance at recovery.”
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn
U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer: Joe Biden ‘highly, highly compromised’ by China
U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer (AL-06) on Wednesday interviewed on Talk 99.5’s “Matt & Aunie Show,” discussing the recent bombshell stories that have come out indicating that former Vice President Joe Biden was potentially involved in certain lucrative foreign business dealings of his son, Hunter.
Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe this week announced the assessment that Hunter Biden’s laptop and the emails on it “is not part of some Russian disinformation campaign.” The FBI has said that it has “nothing to add” to this assessment.
Palmer, speaking to radio host Matt Murphy, emphasized that the questions raised involving the Bidens are serious and “real.”
“This is a real story. The FBI has the laptop. This is not a Russian hoax. This is real,” the central Alabama congressman said.
“And the most concerning thing is, it’s not what Hunter Biden did — we’ve known about Hunter Biden’s corrupt activities with Russia, with the money he got from the widow of the mayor of Moscow, we’ve known about the corrupt deal he had with Burisma, and there are other people that I think at some point we will be able to talk about that may have been involved, and we’ve known about what he did in China. What is new about this is the possibility, the allegation, that Joe Biden himself benefited personally, that he was taking money off the top for himself,” Palmer continued. “And I think that’s what’s got to be investigated.”
He lamented that “the mainstream media is ignoring this” and that “they think they can keep people from finding out about it.”
On Thursday, a business partner of Hunter Biden told Fox News that Joe Biden was indeed involved in his son’s foreign business dealings and profiting monetarily. The business partner also confirmed the authenticity of emails previously publicized by The New York Post and has provided outlets on Thursday with further electronic communications involving the Bidens not found on Hunter’s laptop.
Palmer in a subsequent part of Wednesday’s interview commented on what would be the consequence of Joe Biden becoming president while potentially compromised by China.
“You are in danger of being held hostage,” the congressman warned. “The whole world would suffer if Biden gets elected president. Because the Chinese have the goods on him.”
“Now think about that,” Palmer continued, “how it would impact nations like Australia and Japan and South Korea and Vietnam, who’s becoming an ally of ours because they fear the hegemony of China. It’s going to spread across the world. This is a critical moment for this country. And you literally have left-wing media that are part of a conspiracy to defeat a president. They tried to remove him from office, now they’re trying to defeat him and put somebody in office that is highly, highly compromised.”
He also raised the specter of what could happen if Biden is elected on November 3 and then investigations subsequently reveal that he is compromised by a foreign power.
“[I]t doesn’t give me any comfort whatsoever to think that Biden would be removed from office and replaced with … Senator [Kamala] Harris,” Palmer decried. “Communist Kamala.”
In stark contrast to recent revelations and Palmer’s Wednesday remarks come the past statements of U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) about the Bidens’ foreign endeavors. Jones, an earlier endorser of Biden’s 2020 presidential bid, recently explained that he has considered Biden a friend and mentor since 1978. Jones recently had Biden campaign for him virtually in Alabama, and the former vice president also campaigned for Jones in his 2017 special election bid.
“Do you think everything about these ties between the vice-president’s son and China are OK? Don’t you think we ought to ask some important questions like we spent all this time and money doing with President Trump? I’d like to hear what he has to say about that,” Byrne asked of Jones at the time.
When Byrne subsequently filed a bill to investigate the Bidens over foreign dealings, Jones then went into defense mode for his old friend.
“We should all want the same things – the facts, the truth, and the rule of law – not pandering partisanship trying to be relevant,” Jones asserted at the time, while not supporting an investigation.
His campaign spokesperson at the time also claimed, “Information about Joe Biden and his son has been around for a long time and all alleged improprieties have been debunked by numerous sources.”
Additionally, Jones earlier this year attacked the “credibility” of Tara Reade, the former Biden Senate staffer who has accused Biden of sexually assaulting her in 1993. She recently interviewed with “60 Minutes” in Australia about the alleged assault.
The disease has reached Alabama’s halls of power; Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth and at least five state senators have come down with the virus. Ainsworth reports being asymptomatic, but State. Sen Randy Price (R-Opelika) was hospitalized earlier this year during an endured an extended battle with COVID-19.
Between 6,300 and 7,000 coronavirus tests have been reported each day in Alabama during October, a rate that has remained consistent as the totals of new positive results have risen.
Yellowhammer News is referencing new cases as those testing positive via a molecular-based PCR test and confirmed by ADPH. When including positive results from rapid test devices, the average new cases per day for the last week rises to 1,129.
Ninety-nine Alabamians have been admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 each day over the last week, a tick up from the mid-80s average seen for most of the last six weeks, but not as pronounced as the rise in the new case count.
Public health experts have reported on numerous occasions that a rise in hospitalizations usually follows a rise in new cases by around two weeks, and increased deaths follow hospitalization surges by two to five weeks.
Sixty-five of Alabama’s 67 counties reported a new case of COVID-19 on Wednesday, indicating continued widespread transmission throughout the state.
Rural counties like Dekalb, Covington and Jackson have all had pronounced outbreaks in the last two weeks.
For the last seven days, Alabama has averaged 10 deaths among people with a confirmed case of the coronavirus. The state’s total death toll from the virus is now 2,843, with another 183 that are listed as probable but not yet confirmed by ADPH.
Alabama’s new cases, hospitalizations and deaths are all down from their mid to late summer peaks.
Dr. Don Williamson, head of the Alabama Hospital Association, told WSFA this week that he does not expect Alabama to be exempt “from what looks like it’s going to be a second wave” of the coronavirus.
Williamson further surmised to the Associated Press in recent days that Alabamians were suffering from “COVID fatigue” and not observing precautions like wearing masks or socially distancing as much as citizens did earlier in the fall.
Health officials are urging every citizen to go get a flu shot, saying that a bad flu outbreak on top of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic could be disastrous for the state and nation’s health care system.
Ainsworth stands by opposition to mandatory masks, vaccines — ‘Everybody needs personal responsibility,’ ‘Gov’t mandate is a dangerous precedent’
Late Wednesday, Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth’s office revealed he had tested positive for COVID-19, noting the diagnosis despite having followed CDC health and safety protocols.
Ainsworth had been a critic of the mask mandate and other restrictions implemented by Gov. Kay Ivey and State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris done in the name of preventing the spread of coronavirus in the past.
During an interview with Mobile radio’s FM Talk 106.5 on Thursday, Ainsworth said he still felt the mandates were a “dangerous precedent” and suggested emphasizing personal responsibility.
“It doesn’t at all,” he said. “I think everybody needs personal responsibility. I think the government mandate is a dangerous precedent. I stand by that. Here’s what I want you to understand, Jeff — I had a mask on in Sunday school and was the only person on the row I was sitting on. Maybe I got it somewhere else. Maybe I didn’t. But I guess my point is you can still do all these things, and I exercise caution. The virus — maybe it was on a doorknob. Who knows? But I still got it. So, I don’t think the mask is the cure-all that everybody necessarily thinks it is.”
“My thing is this: I think it is smart to wear a mask,” Ainsworth continued. “It’s going to be an extra layer of protection if you’ve got health issues. You need more than a mask. You probably don’t need to be out and about. You really need to be careful. But most people — they’ll be fine. They’ll get over it. We just need to utilize common sense and, you know, I think we’ll get through this. When a vaccine gets here, it’s going to help a lot.”
Ainsworth added that he was concerned about the possibility of mandatory vaccinations, as well.
“To me, Jeff, that’s just a policy issue,” he said. “I don’t think we need to be mandating masks. I don’t think we need to be mandating vaccines. I don’t think that’s government’s role. I think that’s each individual’s role to decide what’s best for his or her family and that government should not be involved with that. That’s been my issue with this. Jeff Poor should decide whether or not he wants to wear a mask, or whether or not he should get a vaccine, not the government.”