Votelaw, Edward Still's blog on law and politics: September 2012 Archives

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September 23, 2012

Alabama voter ID law still has two years before it gets stricter

The Anniston Star reports: As Election Day nears, debate about new laws requiring photo ID at the polls is raging across the country.

But in Alabama, where a photo ID law won't go into effect until 2014, voters without a photo ID still have two years to get one -- and the state has yet to design a voter-only ID for voters who don't have a driver's license, or a system for distributing those IDs.

"There's time to get that in place," said state Rep. Kerry Rich, R-Albertville, the sponsor of Alabama's voter ID bill.

In 2011, Alabama joined a string of other states in passing a bill that would require people to present photo identification, such as a driver's license, at the polls. In swing states such as Pennsylvania, those laws face heated court battles in the run-up to the presidential election. With two years left until it's implemented, Alabama's law hasn't faced quite as much opposition. -- Read the whole story --> Anniston Star - There s plenty of time to debate merits of Alabama s photo voter ID law

September 19, 2012

Mobile probate judge still trying to run a voter purge

The Mobile Press-Register (al.com) reports: Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis today announced he plans to continue his legal fight over whether he acted within his authority to bar voters from casting ballots in precincts where they no longer lived.

Using address information from the U.S. Postal Service, Davis earlier this year discovered that some 20,000 voters have moved since registering to vote and have not updated their registration information. On the primary election in March, Davis instructed Mobile County election officials to send voters who had moved to another precinct to cast a provisional ballot at the new polling location.

Provisional ballots are not included in the initial totals on Election Day but end up counting if the Board of Registrars determines that the voter is eligible.

Davis' interpretation of the law put him at odds with the state Attorney General's Office, the Alabama Secretary of State's Office and several local voting rights activists, including one who has filed a formal ethics complaint seeking to remove him from the bench.

"The judge is out of order," said the man who filed the complaint, Jeffery Jones. "He's not conducting himself as a judge." -- Read the whole story --> Mobile County probate judge continues legal fight over voter registration, faces ethics complaint | al.com

September 8, 2012

Candidate for Hale County probate judge ruled ineligible to run

The Tuscaloosa News reports: A circuit judge has declared Hale County Democratic probate judge nominee Arthur Crawford ineligible for the November general election because he didn't file timely campaign finance reports during the spring primary runoff against incumbent Leland Avery.

A Hale County Democratic Party official said Avery was certified as the nominee on Wednesday. Avery said he sent the certification with his name on the Nov. 6 ballot against Republican Bob Hoggle.

Montgomery County Circuit Judge Charles Price on Tuesday ruled Crawford ineligible and ordered Alabama Democratic Party Chairman Mark Kennedy to revoke Crawford's certificate of nomination "due to his admitted failure to" timely file campaign finance reports. -- Read the whole story --> Hale County probate judge nominee is ineligible | TuscaloosaNews.com

September 7, 2012

Once again, Alabama officials turn to the big, bad federal government for help

Strange asks U.S. attorney to investigate voter fraud allegations | TuscaloosaNews.com
The Tuscaloosa News reports: Attorney General Luther Strange on Thursday asked U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance in Birmingham to use her newly created civil rights unit to investigate allegations of voter fraud.

Strange is the second state official to ask the Justice Department to probe voter fraud allegations in Alabama.

"Voting is a precious civil right that many paid the ultimate sacrifice to preserve," Strange said in a statement. "This seems to me to be the type of allegations the civil rights enforcement unit in the northern district of Alabama should look into. I hope they will join with us in this effort."

September 1, 2012

Uniontown had too many voters, Republicans claim

Agriculture commissioner seeks federal involvement in Uniontown voting | GadsdenTimes.com
The Gadsden Times reports: State agriculture Commissioner John McMillan on Friday upped the ante in the Uniontown voting numbers case by calling for U.S. Department of Justice voting monitors who were just in Alabama last week to return to the state.

The state agriculture commissioner, governor and state auditor each get to appoint one member of the three-member county boards of voting registrars, except in Jefferson County.

Eyebrows were raised after Tuesday's election when it was learned that 130 percent of the town's 2010 population of 1,775 people were registered to vote. A total of 1,431 people voted for mayor and slightly less in the council races, 570 by absentee ballot. ...

Total votes cast represented 125 percent of the 1,140 people in the town who were 18 and older on Census day. -- Read the whole story -->

"Cheerleadergate"

Cheerleadergate: Fairhope cheerleaders washed cars at mayor's campaign event | al.com
The Mobile Press-Register (al.com) reports:
A "Family Fun Day" put on by Mayor Tim Kant on Aug. 25 has become the most controversial campaign event of the municipal election cycle. At issue is the presence of Fairhope High School cheerleaders washing cars in exchange for donations.

At least some of them wore campaign buttons and held signs in support of the mayor's re-election campaign, raising questions about the propriety of students participating in a partisan campaign event while clearly representing their public school. ...

Family Fun Day was a highly visible event at McArthur’s Auto Service just east of the public library. It included hot dogs, a clown — and free car washes.

Kant, himself a 1973 graduate of Fairhope High, said "one of my supporters" asked the cheerleaders if they wanted to wash cars in exchange for donations. With funds for public education so short in many areas, cheerleaders, athletes and other school organizations are seeking to raise money for their activities, he said. -- Read the whole story -->

Charge of campaigning by firefighter

The Birmingham News (al.com) reports: Graysville Fire Chief Jeff Wesley, on administrative leave since announcing a run for mayor, resigned today.

Wesley, hired as chief in 2004, said he would not have been able to serve under newly-elected Mayor Mary Sue Morgan. Wesley said Morgan had made it difficult for him to do his job during her time as a member of the Graysville City Council. ...

Among the disagreements between Morgan and Wesley is an allegation Morgan wanted two Graysville firefighters disciplined for campaigning for Wesley.

One of those firefighters, Wesley said, had a campaign sign in his personal vehicle in a private parking lot. Wesley said he did not know how the other firefighter had campaigned for him. -- Read the whole story --> Graysville Fire Chief Jeff Wesley has resigned | al.com

Voter bribery alledged in Daphne

The Mobile Press-Register (al.com) reports: A losing City Council candidate in this week's municipal election has accused his opponent of using candy and stickers to improperly win votes and said elections officials refused to enforce campaign laws.

Gary Reyes, who finished second in a three-way race, said he intends to contact the Alabama Attorney General's Office about the conduct of Tuesday's election. He said winner Randy Fry and his supporters handed out candy to voters as they were walking into the Daphne Civic Center to cast their ballots. ...

Fry, an insurance executive who avoided a runoff by three votes in unofficial returns, said he handed out snack-sized chocolate bars affixed with campaign stickers. He said the token giveaway does not constitute bribery. -- Read the whole article --> Losing Daphne City Council candidate accuses opponent of bribing voters -- with candy | al.com