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

Secretary of State: Foreign election observers are not allowed in Alabama. Period.

Alabama law prohibits foreign election observers from being present on election day.
Alabama law prohibits foreign election observers from being present on election day.

On November 8, 2016, the citizens of The United States will elect a new president. As the Secretary of State and the chief election official of our state, I am charged to lead our team members and designated county elections officials for the state of Alabama as we prepare to hold an election with what we expect to be the highest general election turnout in state history, while making every effort to secure the future of our nation through this election.

On Wednesday, an opinion piece titled “The UN is sending foreign ‘election observers’ into Alabama. They must be stopped.” was posted on Yellowhammer. The author of the piece expressed concern regarding potential visits to our state in an official capacity from election observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). This group has worked for years to democratize nations across Europe and Asia from their former socialist and communist eras.

Based on my reading of the editorial opinion, there appears to be a misunderstanding related to Alabama state law, which prevents election observations from external entities. Specifically, in section 17-8-7 in the Code of Alabama, which reads, “Each watcher shall be a resident and qualified elector of the State of Alabama.”

At this point it would be appropriate to note that since the law has not been changed, neither this group or any other group that is from outside the state of Alabama will be granted permission nor has the authority to observe our elections or participate in our elections in any capacity whatsoever.

In July, I attended the National Association of Secretaries of State conference in Nashville. Following a presentation from U.S. Ambassador Daniel Baer, I visited with and was subsequently invited by a team from the OSCE to deploy in September on a mission to observe elections in the Russian Federation and to have Alabama participate in the observation process as well. My team and I reviewed what observation would consist of and quickly determined that this was not something that would be permissible in our state. That is to say the OSCE will not be allowed in the state of Alabama. We communicated that information with them.

I will, however be deploying with my Deputy Chief of Staff and Communications Director, John Bennett, to the Russian Federation to observe and work to help provide for safe and credible elections in the Russian Federation.

Make no mistake that foreign election observers are not allowed and will not be permitted in our state under current Alabama law.

Further, the intent of these observation initiatives, like the one that John Bennett and I will be participating in, is to provide understanding and learning experiences for election officials to take back to their home countries.

It is clear to me from this opinion piece that whatever is being suggested is not only misguided but lacks any basis in fact. The OSCE is an international institution that has worked for over 40 years to promulgate democracy, of which protecting the very integrity of the elections process is our most important job as elected officials.

As Alabamians and Americans you are not and will not be asked to, “surrender our sovereignty and our God-given constitutional rights,” by anyone.

Thank you for giving me the privilege to serve as your secretary of state.


John Merrill serves as Alabama’s Secretary of State

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3 years ago

Alabamians celebrate National Voter Registration Day

(Photo: Flickr)
(Photo: Flickr)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill joined members of the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) Tuesday in declaring September 2015 “National Voter Registration Month” as well as September 22 National Voter Registration Day.

NASS members explained that they established September 22 as National Voter Registration Day as a “non-partisan means of encouraging voter participation and increasing awareness about state requirements and deadlines for voting.”

To “celebrate” National Voter Registration Day, Merrill implores Alabamians to register to vote, ensure their voter registration is up to date, and sign up for election reminders and updates. In addition, Merrill and other members of the NASS encourage participants in National Voter Registration Day to share their experiences online.

“To help promote National Voter Registration Day, Secretaries of State across the nation are challenging Americans to get registered to vote by leveraging the power of social media and viral video,” said Merrill.

National Voter Registration Day is using the hashtag #CelebrateNVRD on social media outlets to help spread the word and get more people to register to vote.

“Our goal is to encourage involvement within the electoral process,” Merrill concluded. “We want every person who is eligible to vote, as a citizen of Alabama, to have the privilege to do so.”

Another recent effort to encourage voter registration in Alabama includes Merrill recruiting the head football coaches of Alabama and Auburn to star in informational videos. The videos will appear on jumbotrons in Bryant-Denny and Jordan-Hare Stadiums throughout the season to spread the importance of voter registration.

Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-AL7)  also celebrated the day by encouraging younger voters to get registered for the first time.

“Our votes are our voice, and every eligible voter should make his or her voice heard,” said Sewell in a press release Tuesday. “It’s important that we encourage and engage younger voters. Historically, young adults ages 18-24 are less likely to vote as compared to older adults. Voting is one of our most fundamental rights. We cannot take it for granted.

“National Voter Registration Day encourages high school seniors to register to vote, and to become active and engaged citizens within their communities. As a daughter of Selma, I cannot forget the sacrifices that were made by the brave men and women who laid their lives on the line so that all Americans can enjoy their Constitutionally-guaranteed right to vote.

“We must honor that legacy by voting in each and every election – local, state, and federal. I am calling on our young people to register to vote. You are the future, and we need to hear your voices.”

To learn more about registering to vote or National Voter Registration Day, please visit www.nationalvoterregistrationday.org.


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3 years ago

September named ‘Voter Registration Month’ in Alabama

Voting Booths

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill joined members of the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) in declaring September 2015 “National Voter Registration Month” in a press release Tuesday, reminding citizens of the importance of exercising the right to vote.

NASS members explained that they established September as National Voter Registration Month as a “non-partisan means of encouraging voter participation and increasing awareness about state requirements and deadlines for voting.”

“The need for public information and education regarding voter registration and related deadlines is extremely critical as Alabama voters prepare to take part in the 2015 statewide election and the 2016 presidential election cycle,” said Secretary Merrill.

“Registering to vote empowers eligible citizens to exercise their right to vote on Election Day. I am thankful to all the Secretaries of State who are highlighting the importance of National Voter Registration Month and Day.”

NASS has also declared September 22, 2015, as National Voter Registration Day.

To “celebrate” National Voter Registration Month, Merrill implores Alabamians to register to vote, ensure their voter registration is up to date, and sign up for election reminders and updates.

“Our goal is to encourage involvement within the electoral process,” Merrill concluded. “We want every person who is eligible to vote, as a citizen of Alabama, to have the privilege to do so.”

Another recent effort to encourage voter registration in Alabama includes Merrill recruiting head football coaches of Alabama and Auburn to star in informational videos. These videos will appear on jumbotrons in Bryant-Denny and Jordan-Hare Stadiums during games this season in hopes of spreading the word and importance of voter registration.

Since June 3, 2014, to participate in an election, Alabamians must be registered to vote and present a valid form of photo ID at their polling place.

The relatively new law was rooted in a Republican campaign promise in 2010, the year that the party took control of the State House for the first time Reconstruction. It passed in 2011 and first went into use during 2014’s primary season.

According to the law, any of the following documents qualify as a valid voter ID:

• Driver’s license
• Alabama photo voter ID card
• State issued ID (any state)
• Federal issued ID or US passport
• Employee ID from Federal Government, State of Alabama, County, Municipality, Board, or other entity of this state
• Student or employee ID from a public or private college or university in the State of Alabama (including postgraduate technical or professional schools)
• Military ID
• Tribal ID

To receive a free photo I.D. from the state applicants must show they are a registered voter and bring one either a birth certificate, marriage record, Social Security Administration document, hospital or nursing home record, Medicare or Medicaid document, or an official school record or transcript.

To register to vote or find your polling place in Alabama, please visit: http://www.alabamavotes.gov/.


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5 years ago

Chapman Will Not Seek Elective Office in 2014


Alabama Secretary of State Beth Chapman told Yellowhammer this morning that she will not run for higher office in 2014. Chapman in 2010 received the highest number of votes of any Constitutional Officer in state history, including governor. Insiders have speculated for some time as to what her plans might be when her second term as Secretary of State ends in 2014. The answer came today on the week of her 51st birthday and the anniversary of her husband’s death.

Chapman was elected as State Auditor in 2002 and as Secretary of State in 2006 and 2010.

“Public service is a calling and I have fulfilled that calling at this particular time in my life,” Chapman said. “I am simply taking a break to pursue some entrepreneurial ideas and business opportunities.”

As State Auditor she and her staff achieved 96% perfect audits among state agencies.

As Secretary of State, Chapman has led a national effort to improve military voting, pass Photo Voter I.D. and managed the largest Presidential election in Alabama’s history. She also created online business filings making her office a model for Secretaries of State around the country.

Every office Chapman has ever held has operated with a surplus.

She served as an officer of the prestigious National Association of Secretaries of State for four years including serving as its President from 2011-2012.

She served as Appointments Secretary in the Cabinet of Governor Fob James, becoming the first woman to serve in that post. She later served as Press Secretary for Lieutenant Governor Steve Windom.

Chapman has not released specific details of her future work, but has stated that she is in full support of the reelection of Governor Robert Bentley.

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