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

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July 23, 2013

New Alabama law allows absentee ballots for emergency workers

AL.com reports: Gov. Robert Bentley held a bill signing ceremony today for a new law aimed at allowing emergency workers to vote by absentee ballot if they are called away to work during an election. ...

The new law authorizes the Secretary of State, by emergency rule, to provide for absentee voting by those emergency workers if they are called away to work during an election. -- Read the whole story --> Gov. Robert Bentley praises new absentee ballot law for emergency workers | al.com

July 19, 2013

Rep. Hubbard wants to run in special election for another House seat

The Montgomery Advertiser reports: It's a question of time and place, with two very different interpretations.

The Alabama secretary of state's office said Thursday that the current boundaries of House District 74 - being vacated at the end of the month by Rep. Jay Love, R-Montgomery - will be the boundaries used for a special election expected to be called for the seat.

That could be an issue for Rep. Joe Hubbard, D-Montgomery, who has purchased a home within the new District 74 boundaries and is considering entering the special election. Hubbard's residence, while in the newly created boundary lines for the 2014 general election, is outside the current lines. ...

Hubbard said Thursday he has not made a decision whether to run in the special election, though he plans to seek the seat in next year’s general election. However, he said that the law as written would allow him to run, and he accused Republicans of trying to make his race for the seat more difficult. -- Read the whole story --> Law may bar Joe Hubbard from running for House seat vacated by Jay Love | The Montgomery Advertiser | montgomeryadvertiser.com

July 18, 2013

Voter ID program an 'unfunded mandate' to county registrars

AL.com reports: Alabama's new law requiring people to show a government-issued photo identification to vote is raising some concerns for Jefferson County officials.

The law -- to get around accusations that it's a modern poll tax to make people buy ID -- requires that the state have an option for a free ID.

Jefferson County, which has more voters than any other county in the state, may be forced to come up with money to cover personnel and labor costs associated with producing new voter IDs, said Barry Stephenson, chairman of the Board of Registrars.

"I want to do everything possible to help the voters and to have fair and honest elections," Stephenson said. "However, I only have so many resources in my budget and the state has made no mention of reimbursing the counties for any personnel or labor costs associated with producing the new free identification cards." -- Read the whole story --> New Alabama state ID law may pose some problems for Jefferson County (photos, video) | al.com

July 17, 2013

"Big donors" to be handled centrally by GOP legislative leaders

The Alabama Political Reporter reports: The Alabama Political Reporter has obtained an email from Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) sent to fellow republican senate members, telling them to "get started earlier as opposed to later" on their campaign fundraising; but only from local donors.

This letter, and similar communications, has senators privately grumbling over financial road-blocks, claiming that they are being set-up by Marsh and Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard.

The rank-in-file members say they are being told to "stay out of Montgomery" when it comes to raising money for their campaigns. Marsh and Hubbard have made it clear that they will be handling the "Big Donors," legislators complain. ...

By keeping legislators off the Montgomery money train, Hubbard, Marsh and Riley guarantee they remain the masters of the political universe in Alabama. -- Read the whole story -->Editorial: Message to Republican Legislators: Big Donors Off-Limits

July 6, 2013

Alabama's new online campaign-finance reports working well

AL.com reports: The Alabama Secretary of States office reported no glitches with its new online, searchable system for candidates and political action committees to file campaign finance reports.

The system was used for the first time for June campaign finance reports, the first reports of the 2014 election cycle. The reports were due on Tuesday.

Adam Thompson, deputy chief of staff for the secretary of state, said some candidates and PACs experienced problems using third-party software to access the new system, but the help line set up by the state's vendor, Quest Information Systems, Inc., was able to help them. The state paid the company $300,000 to develop the new filing system, which was mandated under a bill passed by the state Legislature in 2011. It replaces an old system of filing paper reports that were scanned and posted on the secretary of state website. ...

Thompson said 76 candidates and 168 political action committees had used the new system. -- Read the whole story --> Alabama Secretary of State's office reports no glitches with new online filing system | al.com

July 4, 2013

Eleven years

Eleven years ago today I started this blog.

July 1, 2013

Voter photo IDs for old folks, disabled, et al

A press release from Gov. Bentley: Governor Robert Bentley on Friday tasked Neal Morrison, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Senior Services, with developing a plan to help all citizens have access to a photo ID that will comply with the state’s photo voter ID law.

“The right to vote is fundamental to democracy,” Governor Bentley said. “I want to remove any obstacle that could keep any eligible voter from exercising their constitutional right to vote.”

The plan to be developed by Commissioner Morrison will compliment [sic] a photo voter ID plan outlined by Secretary of State Beth Chapman. Under the proposed regulations announced by Secretary of State Chapman, citizens without acceptable forms of photo voter ID can receive a free ID by visiting Department of Public Safety offices, Board of Registrars offices or the Secretary of State’s office.

Governor Bentley is tasking Commissioner Morrison to develop this additional plan to specifically help the disabled, the homebound and others who may not have access to those offices so they can receive this free service as well. The plan will be designed to provide assistance to citizens of any voting age who are in need of this service.