The Wire

  • Three takeaways from Alabama’s Runoff Election

    Excerpt:

    With Alabama’s primary election runoffs now in the books, here are three takeaways from the results.

    North Alabama has spoken.
    When this election cycle began, it became evident that north Alabama saw a window of opportunity to increase its influence.  The results from the Republican primary runoff have shown the electorate in that area of the state was eager to flex its muscle.

    Will Ainsworth pulled out an impressive come-from-behind victory in the Lt. Governor’s race. Steve Marshall enjoyed a resounding win in his bid to retain the Attorney General’s office.

  • On Roby’s win: One false media narrative dies, a new one is born

    Excerpt:

    Like Lucy van Pelt of Peanuts comic strip fame repeatedly pulling the football away from Charlie Brown as he lines up to kick it, Rep. Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) once again has shown you can’t beat her in a Republican primary.

    Similar to when she defeated “Gather Your Armies” Rick Barber in the 2010 GOP primary and “Born Free American Woman” Becky Gerritson in the 2016 GOP primary, Roby defeated former Montgomery Mayor Bobby Bright for a second time on Tuesday night, this time by a whopping 36 points.

    Heading into yesterday, many national media reporters were sent into Alabama’s second congressional district looking at the possibility that Roby might have to answer to a revolt for not sticking with then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on the infamous Billy Bush weekend during the 2016 presidential campaign.

  • Mo Brooks Wins FreedomWorks’ Prestigious 2017 FreedomFighter Award

    Excerpt from a Rep. Mo Brooks news release:

    Tuesday, Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) was one of only 31 members of the U.S. House of Representatives awarded the prestigious 2017 FreedomFighter Award by FreedomWorks, a leading conservative organization with more than six million members nationwide. Only members of Congress who score better than 90% on the FreedomWorks scorecard receive the FreedomFighter Award. Congressman Brooks’ FreedomWorks score was in the top 4% of all Congressmen in 2017.

    Brooks said, “FreedomWorks is a leading organization in the conservative movement. I thank them for their work keeping members of Congress accountable and scoring key House floor votes which helps the American people better understand the impact of those votes. I was proud to receive the prestigious FreedomWorks 2017 FreedomFighter Award for my voting record in 2017. If America is to maintain its place as the greatest country in world history, more members of Congress must fight for the foundational principles that made America great. I’m fighting in Congress for those principles, and I’m glad to have a partner as effective as FreedomWorks in the fight.”

1 week ago

Alabama Sec of State John Merrill offers ‘home visit’ for those seeking photo ID to vote — ‘Just call my cell’

(John Merrill/Facebook)

On Friday, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill took to Twitter to reiterate his pledge to ensure eligible voters were able to comply with the state’s voter identification laws by offering home visits for those unable to obtain identification otherwise.

Merrill was responding to a similar pledge from Alabama Republican Party chairwoman Terry Lathan, who made her comments about a Yellowhammer News story noting the five-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Shelby County v. Holder decision that gave states the authority to have voter identification laws.

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Merrill included his cell phone number with the pledge to ensure any interested party could be in touch.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and is the editor of Breitbart TV.

2 months ago

Alabama Sec of State John Merrill defends voter ID law — ‘All we’re trying to do is make it easy to vote and hard to cheat’ (AUDIO)

(John Merrill/Facebook)

Wednesday on the “Rick & Bubba” radio show, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill explained how he had to defend Alabama’s voter identification law to groups like the NAACP over the past year, and how he has been successful at it.

Earlier this year, a federal judge dismissed the suit brought by Greater Birmingham Ministries, the Alabama NAACP and other individuals that claimed it violated the Voting Rights Act, and the 14th and 15th Amendments of Constitution.

Merrill spoke about how despite that ruling, he went head-to-head with NAACP Legal Defense Fund head Sherrilyn Ifill, who continued to claim that Alabama’s voter ID law prevented 188,000 people from voting. Merrill said he contended Ifill couldn’t offer a single person the law precluded from voting.

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“The thing that made me so proud about that is we testified again – the two of us, Ifill and I did before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in Charlotte in March of this year,” he said. “And when she brought it up again, I said, ‘You’re telling a lie. And you just need to acknowledge that because you can’t show me 188,000 people.’ Even though the judge has already ruled on this – you can’t show me 8,000. As a matter of fact, you can’t show me a person in this state that doesn’t have an ID that will allow them to participate. And if you do, give me the name of one person, we will go to their home today, and we will give them a valid ID for free.”

“And we’ve already done that multiple times throughout the state of Alabama,” Merrill continued. “We’ll continue to do it because I want each and every eligible U.S. citizen that is a resident of Alabama to be registered to vote and have a photo ID. That’s why we’ve made the effort that we’ve made. That’s why I was invited to go to Washington on Monday to testify before another group about what we’re doing to improve the elections process in Alabama.”

The ultimate goal Merrill argued was to promoting voting and deter voter fraud.

“I don’t mean to be so passionate, guys,” Merrill added. “I just want to make sure y’all understand that we don’t need people telling lies or misrepresenting what’s actually happening because again, people are entitled to their own opinion, but they’re not entitled to their own facts. All we’re trying to do is make it easy to vote and hard to cheat.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and is the editor of Breitbart TV.

2 years ago

Record number of Alabamians register to vote for 2016 election

vote
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — 584,252 new voters have registered in Alabama, according to the State Secretary of State’s Office, which is the largest number in state history. In total, Alabama now has 3,330,802 registered voters.

“When we took Office in January of 2015, we committed to make sure every eligible U.S. citizen that is a resident of Alabama be registered to vote and have a valid photo id. With the help of our very capable team and the people of Alabama we have made great strides to accomplish this goal, and for that I say thank you,” Secretary of State John Merrill (R-Ala.) wrote in a press release.

Merrill’s office reported a surge in applications before the deadline last Monday, Oct. 24. The Secretary predicted that he would see the highest number of registrations ever, a prediction that ultimately came true.

In addition to registering, participating voters in Alabama are also subject to the state’s voter ID law. Upon checking-in at their precinct, voters must present one of the pre-approved forms of identification, such as an Alabama driver’s license. If a person does not have one of the approved forms of ID, he or she may apply to get one from the state for free.

While the presidential race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton has gotten the lion’s share of the press, Alabama’s state government and various localities have important offices up for grabs as well. On the federal level, the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Richard Shelby (R) is in contention, as are the seats of Alabama’s seven U.S. House Representatives. Statewide, Alabamians will consider fourteen amendments to the state constitution that can be approved with a majority of the vote.

RELATED: An Alabama voters’ quick guide to state amendments on the Nov. ballot

Alabama voters also need to be careful not to snap a photo in their voting booth. “Voting selfies” are expressly legal in 21 states and the District of Columbia, but they are banned in Alabama. According to the legal researchers at Vox, absolutely no photos of ballots are allowed; voters have “a right to cast a ballot in secrecy and in private.”

RELATED: ‘Voting Selfies’ illegal in Alabama

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2 years ago

LAST CHANCE: Alabama voter registration deadline is today

Clinton, Trump pick up big wins
Today is Alabama’s deadline for those wishing to register to vote in the Nov. 8 general election. To become a registered voter in Alabama, a person must be 18 years old on or before election day, be a United States citizen, reside in Alabama and have an Alabama driver’s license or Alabama non-driver ID. Those convicted of disqualifying felonies are disbarred from participating in the election, unless they have had their civil rights restored.

Applications can be filed in-person at each county’s Board of Registrars or electronically at alabamavotes.gov.

Many have registered this cycle already. In fact, Alabama has approximately 3.3 million registered voters; a number up 500,000 from the mid-term elections in 2014. However, others have procrastinated, and the secretary of state’s office told the Alabama News Network that it anticipates a surge in applications today.

“I think we’re going to continue to see people fill out applications, try and get registered. We anticipate the highest voter turnout in the state for this general election,” said Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R).

Alabama voters are also subject to the state’s voter ID law. Upon checking-in at their precinct, voters must present one of the pre-approved forms of identification, such as an Alabama driver’s license. If someone does not have one of the approved forms of ID, he or she may apply to get one from the state for free.

While the presidential race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton has gotten the lion’s share of the press, Alabama’s state government and various localities have important offices up for grabs as well. On the federal level, the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Richard Shelby (R) is in contention, as are the seats of Alabama’s seven U.S. House Representatives. Statewide, Alabamians will consider fourteen amendments to the state constitution that can be approved with a majority of the vote.

To see what issues are coming to a vote in your community, you can check out sample ballots on the Secretary of State’s website linked here.

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2 years ago

Black Alabamian’s pro-voter ID tweet goes viral: ‘It’s racist to assume we can’t get an ID’

(Photo: Flickr)
(Photo: Flickr)

A black Alabamian is tired of Democratic politicians calling photo voter ID laws “racist,” and has taken to Twitter to declare that “it is racist,” however,” to “assume minorities are too incompetent to get an ID.”

The latest Gallup survey caught some Democrats by surprise this week when it revealed that 80 percent of Americans support “requiring all voters to provide photo identification at their voting place in order to vote.”

“As partisan-fueled court battles over state voting laws are poised to shape the political landscape in 2016 and beyond,” explained Gallup’s Justin McCarthy, “new Gallup research shows four in five Americans support both early voting and voter ID laws.”

The 2016 Democratic Party platform declared the Party would collectively “fight against discriminatory voter identification laws, which disproportionately burden young voters, diverse communities, people of color, low income families, people with disabilities, the elderly, and women.”

Prior to that, during an October 2015 visit to Hoover, Hillary Clinton slammed Alabama Republicans for requiring proof of citizenship to vote and for shuttering driver’s license offices in the wake of state budget cuts. The Democratic presidential nominee insisted that both issues were examples of Republicans trying to return Alabama to its Jim Crow past.

RELATED: Bentley and Clinton spar over whether Alabama Republicans are racists

“We have to defend the most fundamental right in our democracy, the right to vote,” she said. “No one in this state, no one, should ever forget the history that enabled generations of people left out and left behind to finally be able to vote.”

Vice President Joe Biden also chided supporters of voter ID laws.

“These guys never go away,” the vice president said. “Hatred never, never goes away. The zealotry of those who wish to limit the franchise cannot be smothered by reason.”

RELATED: Biden: There’s ‘hatred’ behind Alabama’s photo voter ID law

“It’s not racist to require an ID to vote,” responded an exasperated Pam Besteder, a black Alabamian who identifies on her Twitter profile as an independent voter who “loves God and Country and the American flag.”

“It IS racist,” she continued, “to assume minorities are too incompetent to GET an ID.”

The tweet has already been retweeted over 2,000 times and continues to spread around the internet.

Despite calls of racism, Alabama’s implementation of the voter ID law does not seem to have suppressed turnout.

To vote in Alabama, individuals must show a photo ID. This could include a drivers license, non-driver ID, State or Federal-issued ID, US Passport, government employee ID, student ID from a public or private Alabama college, military ID, tribal ID, or, if none of those are accessible, a free photo voter ID provided by the state.

To acquire a free ID, citizens can go to their local Board of Registrars office; there is one located in every one of Alabama’s 67 counties. Additionally, the Secretary of State’s office has visited every county with a mobile photo voter ID van in an effort to reach people right in their neighborhoods.

Alabamians go to the polls Tuesday for municipal elections and will return November 8 for the presidential election and other state-level races.

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2 years ago

Democrats call Alabama’s voter ID law ‘racist’ but require DNC delegates to show ID to vote

voter-id-20%
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — In a twist of irony, the Democratic National Convention is requiring delegates to show photo ID to receive their official credentials. While the Democrats require an ID to get into their convention, they have consistently fought against voter ID laws requiring citizens to show one when they vote.

During the 2011 Regular Legislative Session Governor Robert Bentley (R-Ala.) signed a voter ID law that went into full effect for the 2014 primary elections. Act 2011-673 requires an Alabama voter to have a specific type of photo identification at the polls in order to vote. Since that time, Democrats across the country have decried the law as “racist” and “hateful”.

The 2016 Democratic Party platform declares, “we will continue to fight against discriminatory voter identification laws, which disproportionately burden young voters, diverse communities, people of color, low income families, people with disabilities, the elderly, and women.” Yet, at their own convention, it seems like a different set of rules apply.

DNC voter ID

In an October 2015 visit to Hoover, Hillary Clinton slammed Alabama Republicans for requiring proof of citizenship to vote and for shuttering driver’s license offices in the wake of state budget cuts. The Democratic presidential nominee insisted that both issues were examples of Republicans trying to return Alabama to its Jim Crow past.

RELATED: Bentley and Clinton spar over whether Alabama Republicans are racists

“We have to defend the most fundamental right in our democracy, the right to vote,” she said. “No one in this state, no one, should ever forget the history that enabled generations of people left out and left behind to finally be able to vote.”

Before that, Vice President Joe Biden chided supporters of voter ID laws in light of liberal defeat in the Supreme Court case of Shelby County v. Holder which stemmed from a legal challenge in Alabama. “These guys never go away,” Biden said. “Hatred never, never goes away. The zealotry of those who wish to limit the franchise cannot be smothered by reason.”

RELATED: Biden: There’s ‘hatred’ behind Alabama’s photo voter ID law

Shelby County, Ala. sued the U.S. Attorney General in 2011 claiming that portions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that the formula used to determine which areas were subjected to pre-clearance was unconstitutional, effectively gutting that portion of the law.

“Alabama has made tremendous progress over the past 50 years, and this decision by the U.S. Supreme Court recognizes that progress,” Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said at the time. “We will not tolerate discrimination in Alabama.”

Despite calls of racism, Alabama’s implementation of the voter ID law does not seem to have suppressed turnout.

There are currently at least 10 different types of ID that are acceptable to use at the polls (including a driver’s license) and the Secretary of State’s office also offers free Alabama photo voter ID cards and free non-driver IDs for purposes of voting.

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3 years ago

Alabama Secretary of State assures free Voter IDs will be available in all counties

(
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — When the announcement was made Wednesday that satellite drivers license office across the state would be closed, there was immediate speculation that it would cause disenfranchisement of voters in some of Alabama’s poorest counties, and particularly in those where minorities make up a large proportion of the population.

Even Hillary Clinton, who will visit the Yellowhammer State later this month joined the conversation, calling the closure of the 31 drivers license offices “Yet another reason we need to restore key portions of the Voting Rights Act.”

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, who is responsible for administering and overseeing elections, says there will still be multiple opportunities for people in every county to obtain an I.D. valid at the polling booth.

“The closure of 31 DMV offices will not leave citizens without a place to receive the required I.D. card to vote,” said Secretary Merrill. “All 67 counties in Alabama have a Board of Registrars that issue photo voter I.D. cards. If for some reason those citizens are not able to make it to the Board of Registrars, we’ll bring our mobile I.D. van and crew to that county. By October 31 our office will have brought the mobile I.D. van to every county in Alabama at least once.

“One of the most fundamental rights we as Americans are afforded is our right to vote,” he continued. “As Alabama’s Secretary of State and Chief Elections Official, I will do everything within my power to ensure every Alabamian is able to exercise their right to vote.”

There is some question whether the complete closure of the offices is legal, given the language of the budget law Governor Bentley signed in September, which explicitly prohibits the Alabama Law Enforcement Association from closing any drivers license offices that were open as of October 1st, 2014, and that any reductions in force focus on areas that don’t directly serve the public.

The Alabama Supreme Court declined Governor Bentley’s request for the judicial branch to weigh in on whether or not the law’s directive usurped the executive branch’s authority.

Regardless of who ultimately wins this tussle between the legislative and executive branches, Merrill says the mobile voter I.D. unit will be visiting many of the counties effected, and possibly even more throughout the month of October.

“In October, the mobile unit will be in Blount, Cherokee, Conecuh, Covington, Escambia, Henry, Houston, Jefferson, Lee, Mobile, Pike, and Washington Counties,” the Secretary’s office said in a press release Friday morning. “For specific information on the location of the mobile unit in your county, visit AlabamaPhotoVoterID.com.”

Additionally, groups wishing to host Voter I.D. drives in their communities can call the Secretary of State’s office at 334-353-7854 to schedule.

Drivers Licenses are just one of the many forms of identification accepted at Alabama’s polling places.

The following, unexpired, unrevoked forms are acceptable as well:

Nondriver ID, Alabama Photo Voter ID card, State Issued ID, Federal Issued ID, US Passport, Employee ID from the Federal Government, State of Alabama, County, Municipality, Board or other entity of Alabama, Student or employee ID from a public of private college or university in the State of Alabama, Military ID, or a Tribal ID.


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3 years ago

Alabama woman found guilty of 24 counts of absentee voter fraud

Voter fraud

DOTHAN, Ala. — A Houston County woman was found guilty Wednesday of 24 counts of voter fraud for promoting illegal absentee voting, according to the Dothan Eagle.

Olivia Reynolds, 66, was convicted after the jury deliberated for a mere hour.

Reynolds was arrested in May 2014 after an investigation into a 2013 county election she worked revealed evidence of voter fraud.

In the August election, Commissioner Amos Newsome, for whom Reynolds worked, beat challenger Lamesa Danzey by 14 votes. Newsome received 119 of the 124 absentee votes that were cast, but Danzey received more votes than Newsome at the polls, prompting the closer look.

Reynolds is the third suspect in the election fraud investigation to go to trial.

“This case is about the sanctity of the ballot,” said Assistant District Attorney Banks Smith. “They not only defrauded Lamesa Danzey, but all of us when they stole that election… When the integrity of the ballot is lost we all lose.”

During the trial witnesses testified they never wanted to vote for Newsome, yet their ballot was cast for the incumbent.

The Alabama code lays out the penalties for anyone convicted of absentee voter fraud.

Any person who willfully changes an absentee voter’s ballot to the extent that it does not reflect the voter’s true ballot, any person who willfully votes more than once by absentee ballot in the same election, any person who willfully votes for another voter or falsifies absentee ballot applications or verification documents so as to vote absentee, or any person who solicits, encourages, urges, or otherwise promotes illegal absentee voting, shall be guilty, upon conviction, of a Class C felony. Any person who willfully aids any person unlawfully to vote an absentee ballot, any person who knowingly and unlawfully votes an absentee ballot, and any voter who votes both an absentee and a regular ballot at any election shall be similarly punished

Ms. Reynolds will be sentenced on September 15th.

As concerns of voter fraud have risen across the country many states, including Alabama, have established voter ID laws and other safeguards.

Since June 3, 2014, to participate in an election, a citizen must be registered to vote and present a valid form of photo ID.

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

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 Alabama photo voter ID card, a citizen must be a registered voter and must not have one of the valid forms of photo ID listed above.

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill has worked with the State Legislature over the past year to ensure any Alabama citizen who needs a free voter ID will have the opportunity to receive one.


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3 years ago

Alabama and Auburn head football coaches set to kick off state voter registration efforts

Nick Saban informing Alabamians to register to vote (youtube)
Nick Saban urging Alabamians to register to vote
Nick Saban urging Alabamians to register to vote

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill has recruited University of Alabama and Auburn University coaches Nick Saban and Gus Malzahn to help kick off voter registration and identification efforts in the state. The two head coaches will appear in videos played on jumbotrons in Bryant-Denny and Jordan-Hare Stadiums during games this season in hopes of spreading the word and importance of voter registration.

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

Since June 3, 2014, to participate in an election, a citizen 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.

The Yellowhammer State will join Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia to hold its presidential primary election on March 1st of next year in the so-called “SEC Primary.”

The informational videos encourage citizens to contact their Local Board of Registrars, visit alabamavotes.org, or call 1-800-274-8683 to make sure they’re ready for the next elections

Check out videos set to play in Bryant-Denny and Jordan-Hare stadiums below.


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3 years ago

Alabamians celebrate progress, fight for reforms on the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act

Voting Booths
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Fifty years ago today, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law which outlawed discriminatory voting practices, such as literacy tests and poll taxes, which were adopted after the Civil War to prevent African-Americans from registering and exercising their right to vote. It also established new legal protections for minority voters at the polls.

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R-AL) will join with the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the historic legislation.

“The state of Alabama and her people played pivotal roles and were featured in defining moments in the civil rights movement,” Secretary Merrill said in a press release. “It is because of the courage shown in Selma, Alabama, that we have made progress not only as a state, but a Nation. The passage of the Voting Rights Act has allowed us to make significant steps toward voting equality. As Secretary of State, I will continue to remind our citizens the importance of exercising their right to vote, and I will work to ensure that all eligible Alabamians can exercise their right to vote.”

Originally, Alabama and other southern states were subject to federal preclearance of any changes in voting law under section 4(b) of the VRA. In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down that provision in the case of Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder as it violated the “equal sovereignty of the states” by requiring that only some states get approval from the federal government based on “40 year-old facts having no logical relationship to the present day.”

Contrary to popular belief, the Shelby County case did not completely eliminate the ability of the federal government to screen states’ voting laws under section 5, but merely eliminated Congress’ section 4(b) formula which was last updated in 1975. The federalism question surrounding the general idea of preclearance went undressed as the elimination of the formula rendered it inoperable.

Alabama’s sole Congressional Democrat, Terri Sewell (D-AL7), believes that the lack of federal oversight leads to discrimination. In a press release commemorating the VRA’s anniversary, Sewell specifically cited Voter ID laws as the voting rights issue of today.

“We need not count marbles in a jar or memorize the name of every county judge, but new barriers have replaced overt efforts to suppress voter turnout,” Sewell wrote. “These new barriers – such as voter ID laws or changing polling locations without public notice – have been passed off as measures needed to protect the vote, but in reality they have only made it harder to vote.”

In the 2008 case of Crawford v. Marion County Board of Election (Indiana), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that a statute requiring voters to present photo identification is constitutional as it is closely related to a state’s legitimate interest in preventing voter fraud, modernizing elections, and safeguarding voter confidence.

Last March, Alabama passed a Voter ID law requiring Alabama voters to show a photo ID before being allowed to vote. The law went into effect for the 2014 elections.

Numerous types of photo IDs can be used by voters, including an Alabama driver’s license or non-driver ID, college ID, military ID, government employee ID, federal ID or passport. However, the Alabama Secretary of State’s office said today that they believe roughly 250,000 adults in the state do not currently have any form of photo identification.

For those folks, the State of Alabama is offering a free voter ID, which can be obtained at any local county board of registrars’ or Dept. of Public Safety office or at the secretary of state’s headquarters in Montgomery. Forms of non-photo ID that can be used to obtain a free photo ID include most IDs with a person’s full legal name and date of birth. Fishing and hunting licenses, social security cards, birth certificates, marriage records, military records, Medicaid and Medicare documents and school transcripts are all acceptable.

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6 years ago

Joey Kennedy & the Death Spiral of American Journalism

A Gallup survey last week stated the obvious: Americans no longer trust the media. As a matter of fact, distrust in the media is soaring to new heights. “Americans’ distrust in the media hit a new high this year, with 60% saying they have little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly.” Gallup’s Lymari Morales said. “Distrust is up from the past few years, when Americans were already more negative about the media than they had been in years prior to 2004.” Morales continues further, “Independents are sharply more negative compared with 2008, suggesting the group that is most closely divided between President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney is quite dissatisfied with its ability to get fair and accurate news coverage of this election.”

In spite of the public outcry, most media operations don’t seem to see the value in making sure both sides of the political spectrum get equal billing. Every other industry responds to market forces — however reluctant they may be to do so (e.g. the music industry). But for whatever reason, the traditional news media would rather die than acknowledge their shrinking audience is tuning them out.

Enter Joey Kennedy, the Birmingham News’ Pulitzer Prize winning editorial writer who later this month will become their Community Engagement Specialist (huh?):

Digital media is obviously playing a huge role in the decline of tradition media, and many news organizations are playing catch-up. But Kennedy’s really excited about the News’ new digital effort…

“Make journalism new…” What exactly does he mean by that? I’m fairly certain he means they’re trying new ways to deliver their content. Great — that’s a step in the right direction. But what if that’s not the only issue? Better yet, what if that’s not even the primary issue to consider when addressing a collapse in readership? Has it not occurred to anyone that the problem may be the actual content, not just the method of delivery?

Let’s start with immigration. Roughly 3/4 of Alabamians are in favor of Alabama’s immigration law. Mr. Kennedy certainly does not count himself among the ignorant, racist 75%. “It’s all the worst of Alabama stereotypes. It’s a cruel law… It’s impossible to comprehend… It’s like dropping an atomic bomb on a quonset hut.” Kennedy explains in the video below. And if you’ve read any of Kennedy’s pieces in the News, you know that’s the position he takes over and over and over and over and over… I could go on and on, the links are endless.

If you ran a sandwich shop, how long could you stay open if you called 3 out of every 4 people who walked in the door a cruel, ignorant bigot?

But immigration is far from the only issue Kennedy splits with the vast majority of Alabamians on. He breaks with 60+% of Alabamians and makes it well known that he’s in the tank for President Obama as well…

…and throws in a quick shot at Romney’s religion while he’s at it. It’s not bigoted though, of course.

Then he flips into full MSNBC-mode and takes on voter ID laws that are — again — supported by the vast majority of his readers. He also couldn’t resist taking a shot at the Republican Party while he’s at it…

Then he pulls a Craig Ford and calls out southern white males — who also incidentally happen to make up a good chunk of his readership…

He even somehow manages to find a way to fit global warming junk science into his Twitter conversation…

And to close it all out — as if on cue — Kennedy showcases the type of arrogant confusion that has come to define the newspaper industry’s denial over their loss of readership:

With all of this on display, it’s no wonder Gallup’s Morales concludes “Republicans…express the least trust in the media, while Democrats express the most.” And at the News, there is not a single voice on the right to temper Kennedy’s far left-wing rants. Not one. Until the Birmingham News and other outlets suck it up and give conservatives a seat at the Editorial Board table, they will continue being active participants in the death spiral of American journalism.

Bottom line:

Birmingham News: give us a CONSERVATIVE voice who’s just as opinionated and obnoxious as Joey Kennedy. All we want is ONE.

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6 years ago

Voter Fraud Appears Rampant in Perry County

Suspicious voting patterns in a local Alabama election serve as a clear reminder of the need to fight potential voter fraud and protect the sanctity of elections.

According to a report Thursday in the Tuscaloosa News, 125 percent of the voting age population cast ballots in a Perry County municipal election held Tuesday in Uniontown. This includes an unusually high 45% of the total votes cast being absentee ballots, compared to a 3-5% statewide average, according to the report. 130% of the town’s population was registered to vote in the election.

“I seriously doubt that this is an isolated mistake, but rather serves as a glowing example to any naysayers that voter fraud is real,” Alabama Senate Majority Leader Jabo Waggoner said. “We have an obligation to protect the democratic process we hold so dear and will continue working to identify ways to fight against abuse,” added Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh.

Under current Alabama law, citizens may present one of 19 acceptable forms of identification in order to vote, but many of them, including utility bills, bank statements and pay stubs, do not contain photos and are easily stolen, borrowed or replicated.

The Legislature last year approved a new, stricter standard requiring voters to present a photo ID in order to cast a non-challenged ballot. The law, which is slated to go into effect during the 2014 primary elections, provides free photo ID cards to citizens who do not already possess or cannot afford to purchase one.

“The Obama Justice Department has already blocked photo voter ID requirements in states like Texas and South Carolina, and it is likely it will continue its hostile actions towards Alabama, as well,” Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard said. “By working diligently against this needed and valuable honest elections tool, Obama’s liberal cronies and extremist groups like the ACLU are turning a blind eye to ballot box stuffing and making the case that the only way their side can win is through cheating.”

The Uniontown election provides clear evidence that Alabama’s recently passed photo Voter ID requirement should be approved by the U.S. Justice Department and put in practice for the 2014 statewide campaign cycle.


UPDATE: Thanks to a commenter I remembered a video from earlier this year of Alabama State Representative Jay Love sparring with Al Sharpton over this exact issue…

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