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Alabama: judge appoints Governor as special master over voter registration system

AP reports: A federal judge put Republican Gov. Bob Riley in charge of developing an overdue statewide voter registration database Wednesday and turned aside objections by the Democratic Party and the mostly black Alabama Democratic Conference.

U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins gave Riley the title of "special master" in the voter database project, replacing Democratic Secretary of State Nancy Worley.

At a hearing in which Worley and former Secretary of State Jim Bennett exchanged barbs, Watkins said he would issue a formal order detailing Riley's duties in about a week.

Democratic Party chairman Joe Turnham and ADC chairman Joe Reed had sought to intervene, contending partisan politics was behind the Justice Department's lawsuit and the call by the agency and GOP Attorney General Troy King to replace Worley with Riley in an election year for both. ...

Attorneys for the Justice Department and the Alabama Attorney General's office said the statewide file is needed to prevent voter fraud. But attorney Ed Still, representing the Democratic Party and the ADC, said Turnham and Reed want to make sure the new system does not end up disenfranchising some Alabama voters.

"Whenever you start talking about ballot security, it tends to have an impact on the poor and the elderly," Still said. -- Judge rejects Democrats' bid, names Riley head of voter database

Update: WSFA-TV has a long, detailed, and pretty accurate story about the whole thing. Thanks to Doug Chapin for pointing it out to me.

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