Votelaw, Edward Still's blog on law and politics: June 2013 Archives

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June 29, 2013

Voter photo ID to be used in 2014; plans announced reports: Voters without photo identification will have two options for getting a free ID from the state before the state's new photo voter ID law kicks in next year, Secretary of State Beth Chapman announced today.

Alabama's new law requiring people to show photo ID to vote is scheduled to go into effect with the party primaries in June of 2014. The law -- to get around accusations that it's a modern poll tax to make people buy ID -- also requires that the state have an option for a free ID.

Chapman today announced a proposal for complying with the free ID requirement.

She said voters can go to the Department of Public Safety office in their county and get a free non-drivers identification card. The secretary of state will reimburse Public Safety for the cost. Voters can also go to their local Board of Registrars office and get a free photo voter ID there. -- Read the whole story --> State announces plan for free IDs under new photo voter ID law |

June 26, 2013

Voter photo ID to be used in 2014 reports: Today's U.S. Supreme Court decision clears the way for Alabama's new photo voter ID law to be used in the 2014 elections without the need for federal preclearance, state officials said.

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange and Secretary of State Beth Chapman said they believed the voting requirement, which is scheduled to take effect with the June 2014 primaries, can simply move forward. ...

Alabama lawmakers in 2011 approved a law to require Alabamians ? beginning with the party primaries in June of 2014 -- to show photo identification in order to vote. -- Read the whole story --> Alabama photo voter ID law to be used in 2014, state officials say |

"ALEC influences Alabama legislators"

Alabama Political Reporter reports: From voter identification laws to immigration bills, many states seem to be acting as if from the same agenda in recent years. It's no secret that lobbying groups impact public policy on all levels, but many states are being influenced by a stronger, more powerful group.

ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, "is the only state legislative organization that adopts policies and creates model legislation for its members to use in their states," the ALEC website says. "To date, ALEC has nearly 1,000 pieces of model legislation."

Alabama has seen several pieces of "model legislation" in various forms in the past legislative sessions.

For example, ALEC offers model legislation on "The Parental Choice Scholarship Tax Credit Accountability Act," which describes a program similar to the one laid out in HB84, the Alabama Accountability Act. -- Read the whole article --> ALEC influences Alabama legislators

June 24, 2013

Telling the "real Republicans" from the infiltrators

Alabama Political Reporter reports on Speaker Hubbard's incumbent-protection plan, saying "We cannot let those entities infiltrate and highjack our primary." The article then list 5 house members and 3 senators who ran as Democrats and switched parties after the election. The article includes this:

Most interestingly, though, is Senator Tom Whatley (R-Auburn), who supported the Democrats long before he ever became a Republican.

Whatley donated a significant amount of money--$2,300--to the Obama campaign in July, 2008. This donation occurred around the same time that Whatley applied for an appointment, under the Obama administration to become the state director of USDA Rural Development in Alabama.

Whatley did not get the appointment, and many believe it was due to inaccuracies on his resume. Shortly after, Whatley joined the Republican Party and ran against Senator Ted Little, a 32-year incumbent, riding into the seat on the Republican landslide of 2010. -- Read the whole article --> Hubbard's "real republican" incumbents include Obama donor and party switchers

June 22, 2013

Briefs filed in voting rights suit about Birmingham school board reports: State school officials and a group of Birmingham voters argued in separate court papers Friday whether the state should have obtained federal permission under the Voting Rights Act before it took control of Birmingham school finances last year.

The voter group says the majority white state school board grabbed authority away from voters who elected the Birmingham Board of Education, which is majority black. The state board should first get pre-clearance for its 2012 intervention plan under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act before overriding any more decisions by city school board members, the voter group says.

State school board officials say they don't need pre-clearance for what amounts to a "temporary shift" in how a limited number of decisions with "serious financial implications" are made. The voters' Section 5 claim should be dismissed, the state says. ...

In February a group of five voters, including Birmingham Board of Education members Virginia Volker and Emanuel Ford and Alabama Education Association representative Michael Todd, who lives in the city, filed a lawsuit that says the state's intervention in the city school system violated Sections 2 and 5 of the Voting Rights Act. -- Read the whole story --> Birmingham group: state should be ordered to get federal approval to override city school board votes |

Disclosure: I represent the voters in this suit.

Hubbard seeks to preserve Purity of Essesnce of the GOP reports: Rep. Mike Hubbard sounds more like a man about to run a counterintelligence operation than the speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives.

Hubbard was at The Club Friday speaking to a meeting of Birmingham Young Republicans where he warned them that the "folks in Montgomery who used to run things" are making plans to take back their power and they are preparing to do it by pretending to be Republicans. ...

Hubbard identified the Alabama Education Association among other Democratic Party leaning groups who are at work on plans to reduce the GOP majorities in the House and state Senate. ...

"I'm telling you the race will be determined in the primary. The other guys know that," Hubbard said. "They know they can't win as a Democrat in a general election." -- Read the whole story --> Mike Hubbard readies to defend the GOP majority against faux Republicans |

June 21, 2013

Birmingham city councilor pleads guilty to interfering with voter reports: Birmingham Councilwoman Lashunda Scales has accepted a plea bargain that eliminates felony charges against her, avoiding jail time and avoiding automatic removal from office.

On June 4 Scales was indicted on two felony charges and six counts of using her official office for personal gain and voter interference.

In an agreement reached this afternoon with Jefferson County District Attorney Brandon Falls and approved by Judge Tommy Nail, the counts against Scales were reduced to two and downgraded to one violation and one misdemeanor.

In exchange, Scales pleaded guilty to interfering with an elector, a minor legal violation, and a misdemeanor charge of unintentional use of public equipment. ...

The original four voter intimidation and interference counts stemmed from allegations from Jami L. Bryant that Scales attempted to "disturb, or prevent, or attempt to prevent" her from voting during the city's bond referendum held Oct. 9, 2012. -- Read the whole story --> Birmingham Councilwoman Lashunda Scales accepts plea bargain, avoids felony charges & retains office |

GOP official does not want felon running for Congress on GOP ticket reports: Can Stephen Nodine mount a campaign for Congress from jail?

Not if one Republican Party official has a say about it.

Matt Simpson, chairman of the Baldwin County GOP, said he intends to challenge any attempt by Nodine to qualify with the party as a candidate in the special election for Alabama?s 1st Congressional District seat.

"Having plead guilty to a felony charge of perjury, a crime for which he is currently serving his sentence, Mr. Nodine does not represent the principles and qualities necessary to represent the Republican Party in south Alabama," Simpson said today. "I would oppose his qualifying on our party ticket."

Nodine, a former Mobile County Commissioner who is now serving a two-year jail term on perjury and harassment charges, announced Wednesday that he is considering a bid for Alabama's 1st District congressional seat. -- Read the whole story --> Stephen Nodine for Congress? Not so fast, says GOP official |