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Secretary of State votes no to automatic voter registration

Alabama Secretary of State Wes Allen said he doesn’t plan on following the lead of Pennsylvania when it comes to voter registration.

This week, Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro announced the state will move to automatic voter registration, joining 23 other states who already have that system.

“I made a commitment when I was campaigning for this office that we would bring automatic voter registration to Pennsylvania and break down the barriers for legal eligible voters,” Shapiro said.

Residents in Pennsylvania will now automatically be registered to vote when they get a state I.D. or driver’s license.

Thursday on WVNN’s “The Yaffee Program,” Allen said he will not implement that in the Yellowhammer State.

“I don’t like it at all,” Allen said. “Registering to vote is a First Amendment issue in my mind. You’re exercising your speech. And I think that’s a slippery slope you go down when the government just automatically tells somebody that they’re going to be registered to vote.

“As long as I’m secretary of state we’re not going down that path.”

Allen has already taken action to clean up the voter roles in Alabama, including implementing the new Alabama Voter Integrity Database (AVID).

“Since we stepped into office on January 16th, we have made good on our campaign promises,” he said. “We have worked extremely hard. I made a conscious decision to anchor down the office these first eight months and just get to work, get our arms around the office, learn as much as we possibly could. The staff that we have assembled in our office has been working every day on this to get this thing off the ground and going.”

He also reiterated his support for a bill that will ban ballot harvesting in the state.

“What we’re doing is making sure that no pre-filled in applications from some out of state group is flooding into Alabama and just abusing the voters, or that anybody is trying to manipulate our absentee process here in Alabama,” he said. “Our opponent’s last legislative session even admitted that when there’s fraud, it’s normally in the orbit of the absentee process, and we’re just wanting to clean that up and to make sure that we further strengthen Alabama elections.

“We just want honest, safe, secure, transparent elections. At the end of the day that’s what we want.”

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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