The Wire

  • Decatur doctor accused of sexual assault responds to lawsuit

    Excerpt from WHNT:

    A Decatur doctor accused of sexually assaulting several of his patients is disputing all claims of wrongdoing. Dr. Michael Dick of Alabama Medicine and Rheumatology Clinic responded to a lawsuit filed on behalf of six women who claim to be his former patients. The doctor also filed a protective order asking a judge to stop the victims from sharing their stories with the media.

    A Birmingham-based attorney responded on behalf of Dr. Dick saying there is “no basis to contend he preys on female patients as alleged in the complaint.” The lawsuit filed against Dr. Dick says female members of the nursing staff were present with him. He says no misconduct took place, as alleged in the lawsuit. The response also says employees who work at the medical practice deny any misconduct.

  • Bobby Bright says ‘D.C. powerbrokers’ pushed Trump to endorse Martha Roby

    Excerpt from AL.com:

    Bobby Bright says ‘D.C. powerbrokers’ pushed Trump to endorse Martha Roby in Alabama’s District 2 race.

    “I understand politics and how Washington works. It appears the D.C. powerbrokers have gotten to the President on this issue. It’s truly a swamp of insiders controlled by big money special interests, the same crowd who’s bankrolling Martha Roby’s campaign to the tune of over $1 million just this year,” Bright said in a statement. “It’s a place where loyalty doesn’t exist. When you take that much money from D.C., New York and California, you lose sight of Alabama.”

    Incumbent Roby will face Bobby Bright — a former congressman she defeated in 2010 — in a runoff next month. Bright served one term in Congress as a Democrat, but switched parties to run against Roby in this year’s Republican primary.

  • Man accused of trying to run over police officer, charged with attempted murder

    Excerpt from ABC 33/40:

    A man accused of trying to run over a police officer was charged with attempted murder Friday, Shelby County authorities confirm.

    Chief Assistant District Attorney Roger Hepburn says Issai Serrano is the suspect connected with a Wednesday afternoon shooting involving an Alabaster Police officer. The shooting occurred at Morgan Road and South Shades Crest Road, said Hoover Police officers, who were the first to respond to the scene.

2 years ago

Ahead of pres. election, Alabama first to implement electronic voting for deployed military

An instructor approaches a Black Hawk helicopter on Fort Rucker (Photo: Fort Rucker Flickr photostream)
An instructor approaches a Black Hawk helicopter on Fort Rucker (Photo: Fort Rucker Flickr photostream)
An instructor approaches a Black Hawk helicopter on Fort Rucker (Photo: Fort Rucker Flickr photostream)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama is the first state in the country to implement fully electronic voting for service members stationed overseas, a system that will be used for the first time in a Presidential election this year after being previously rolled out in limited use in late 2015.

Alabama National Guard Maj. Chris Theilacker told WSFA he and other Alabamians deployed around the globe are excited about the more streamlined process to vote.

“It doesn’t seem like a lot of trouble, but taking the time out to request that ballot, wait for it to get there, mail may or may not ever get to you when you are in an overseas environment,” Theilacker said. “I go out everyday to make sure our citizens have the right to vote, so by the state and the city providing access to voting no matter where in the world we are, that says a lot about their commitment.”

Alabama Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise), a military veteran who was instrumental in passing a bill setting up the new system, told Yellowhammer he hopes it will make life easier for Alabamians who are deployed serving their country.

“As chairman of the House Committee on Military and Veterans, I am proud Alabama is leading the way on this important issue,” he said. “Americans’ voting rights are sacred. Nothing could be more important than ensuring that the men and women who are protecting our freedoms abroad have a voice in our political process. That is what this law does.”

Secretary of State John Merrill concurred.

“Every military serviceman or woman who is interested in voting now has the opportunity to receive their ballot electronically, to vote electronically, and have their ballot returned electronically,” he concluded. “They’ll have their vote cast and counted the same way they would if they were at their home with their family.”

So who will they be voting for?

A recent NBC/Survey Monkey poll shows Republican Donald J. Trump leading Democrat Hillary Clinton by double-digits among active military and veterans. Fifty-five percent say they favor Trump, while 36 percent back Clinton.

The election is set to take place Tuesday, November 8, 2016.

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3 years ago

Alabama just took the lead on ensuring military voting rights, here’s how

An instructor approaches a Black Hawk helicopter on Fort Rucker (Photo: Fort Rucker Flickr photostream)
An instructor approaches a Black Hawk helicopter on Fort Rucker (Photo: Fort Rucker Flickr photostream)
An instructor approaches a Black Hawk helicopter on Fort Rucker (Photo: Fort Rucker Flickr photostream)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — For the first time ever this week, a member of the U.S. armed services — an Alabamian — voted electronically while deployed abroad.

Alabama is the first state in the country to implement fully electronic voting for service members stationed overseas. Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill says the system is rolling out at the county level, and he hopes all 67 Alabama counties will be up and running by the presidential primary March 1, 2016.

Alabama National Guard Maj. Chris Theilacker told WSFA he and other Alabamians deployed around the globe are excited about the more streamlined process to vote.

“It doesn’t seem like a lot of trouble, but taking the time out to request that ballot, wait for it to get there, mail may or may not ever get to you when you are in an overseas environment,” Theilacker said. “I go out everyday to make sure our citizens have the right to vote, so by the state and the city providing access to voting no matter where in the world we are, that says a lot about their commitment.”

Alabama Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise), a military veteran who was instrumental in passing a bill setting up the new system, told Yellowhammer he hopes it will make life easier for Alabamians who are deployed serving their country.

“As chairman of the House Committee on Military and Veterans, I am proud Alabama is leading the way on this important issue,” he said. “Americans’ voting rights are sacred. Nothing could be more important than ensuring that the men and women who are protecting our freedoms abroad have a voice in our political process. That is what this law does.”

Secretary Merrill concurred.

“Every military serviceman or woman who is interested in voting now has the opportunity to receive their ballot electronically, to vote electronically, and have their ballot returned electronically,” he concluded. “They’ll have their vote cast and counted the same way they would if they were at their home with their family.”


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4 years ago

Alabama Democrats appear to continue adding candidates after deadline passes

Voting Booths

In early January, Alabama Secretary of State Jim Bennett announced that both major parties had to qualify their candidates by February 7th. The deadline was much earlier than usual, but the Secretary of State’s office was working to comply with federal laws concerning military and overseas voters. The abrupt change was due to ongoing litigation with the U.S. Department of Justice, who had gotten involved after Alabama previously failed to give military voters overseas enough time to get their ballots in.

“Though we do not have yet an order from the court, we have agreed with the Department of Justice to move our deadlines up considerably to get ballots to the Absentee Election Managers in each county,” Alabama Secretary of State Bennett said at the time. “This will allow ballots enough time to be sent to military and overseas voters well before the federal deadline, which is 45 days before the date of the election.”

Bennet said he had been in constant contact with both major parties leading up to the decision, and both of them agreed it was necessary.

As the Feb. 7th deadline passed, both parties failed to qualify candidates in certain races. That is not unusual because some districts lean so heavily toward one party that it’s difficult for the other party to find a candidate willing to run.

The final list of candidates for both parties was reported by multiple news sources, including the Associated Press, whose list can be found on numerous sites (Washington Times, ABC, etc.). The Alabama News Network posted an identical list of candidates on their site as well.

The candidate lists from numerous media outlets reflected what was shown on the Alabama Democratic Party’s own spreadsheet.

But today, the Party released an updated candidate list with Democrats Burton LeFlore and Avery Vise running in Alabama’s 1st and 6th Congressional Districts respectively. The new spreadsheet included the words “subject to amendment” at the top of the candidate column.

The Alabama Secretary of State does not certify the list of qualified candidates until March 13. An official in the Secretary of State’s office said Wednesday that they essentially have to take each party’s word for it that their candidates qualified ahead of the deadline.

So in spite of the Feb. 7 deadline, will Democrats continue “amending” their list of candidates for the next month?

Alabama Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy Worley
Alabama Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy Worley

Bill Armistead, Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, told Yellowhammer that the move is indicative of Democrats’ behavior on both the national and state levels.

“President Obama thinks he can change the rules and legislate from the Oval Office and apparently Nancy Worley thinks she can just make up the rules as she goes, too,” said Armistead. “This is not the way America runs its elections.”

Armistead said he plans take the appropriate action once the party is able to research the matter further.

A phone call seeking comment from Alabama Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy Worley was not returned.


Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims

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4 years ago

Candidate qualifying deadline moved to ensure military voters get ballots in time

Vote

In a necessary move that could put a strain on the state’s two major parties, Secretary of State Jim Bennett announced today that the close of qualifying for the 2014 election cycle will moved up to February 7th, just over a month from now.

This is much earlier than usual as the Secretary of State’s office is working to comply with federal laws concerning military and overseas voters. The abrupt change is due to ongoing litigation with the Department of Justice over military and overseas voting deadlines.

The original date for the end of qualifying for major party candidates would have been April 4, 2014, but that would potentially not allow enough time to get finalized ballots to some military voters overseas soon enough.

Alabama Secretary of State Jim Bennett
Alabama Secretary of State Jim Bennett

“Though we do not have yet an order from the court, we have agreed with the Department of Justice to move our deadlines up considerably to get ballots to the Absentee Election Managers in each county,” Secretary of State Bennett said. “This will allow ballots enough time to be sent to military and overseas voters well before the federal deadline, which is 45 days before the date of the election.”

The Secretary of State’s office said in a statement that they have been in constant contact with the heads of the Alabama Democratic and Republican parties in an effort to prepare them for the change.

Secretary Bennett said he has urged the parties to adapt and open qualifying for candidates early.

“We are doing everything in our power to make sure that our soldiers have their ballots in hand and can mail them back in time for their vote to be counted,” he said.

The Secretary of State’s office tried to pass a bill last year in the legislature that would alter the elections deadline schedule to reflect this end date for qualifying. The bill passed unanimously in the House, but failed to pass the Senate due to time constraints caused by Democrats filibustering almost every piece of legislation that came behind the Alabama Accountability Act.

“We are bringing the bill again this year. I know that the legislative leadership has every confidence that this will be passed for future elections and that we will all do our part to ensure that every vote counts, including military and overseas voters,” Bennett said.


Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims

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