Votelaw, Edward Still's blog on law and politics: June 2015 Archives

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June 15, 2015

Tuscaloosa News editorializes against universal, automatic registration

An editorial from the Tuscaloosa News: Voter fraud is not imaginary. But labeling reasonable efforts to ensure that fraud doesn't taint elections as voter suppression is pure fantasy. Loading the voter rolls with the names of people who don't care enough about their civic duty to provide county officials with a name and correct address is an open invitation to fraud.

The incessant drumbeat, mostly from Democrats, that voter fraud doesn't exist is simply untrue. They know it and we, here in this part of Alabama, certainly know it. We've seen fraudulent absentee ballots turned in by the bundle. ...

What automatic registration would do is create exceptionally fertile ground for voter fraud. People donít neglect to vote because itís difficult to register or get to the polls. Itís not. They fail to register and vote because they donít care about the process of governing this country to make the effort. Or perhaps they just donít believe their vote makes a difference. ...

People who wonít make the minimal effort to register arenít likely to vote. Why let someone vote for them? -- EDITORIAL: Registering all is invitation to voter fraud | TuscaloosaNews.com

June 10, 2015

The TimesDaily reports: Legislation approved in the Alabama Statehouse gives more clarity and enforcement capabilities to the state?s campaign finance reporting laws, the bill?s sponsor and drafter said.

Senate Bill 241, approved last week and sponsored by Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, includes recommendations from a panel of lawmakers and other officials who met in 2013 and 2014. ...

He said the legislation does several things:

  • It amends current law to clarify when contributions are received and expenditures are made. A contribution must be reported either within 10 days after a check is received or at the time of deposit, whichever is earlier. Expenditures are made the day they are authorized.
  • It codifies several Alabama attorney general opinions, including one that says the candidates arenít limited to writing checks for their expenditures. Debit cards and money market accounts are acceptable.
  • It creates a proper process for closing a campaign account if a candidate dies or becomes incapacitated.
  • It now requires property worth more than $500 purchased by a campaign must be liquidated if the candidate doesnít win. For example, if a candidate buys a car for use during a campaign, that candidate canít keep the car when he or she loses.

  • Ethics Commission Executive Director Thomas Albritton on Tuesday said the five-member commission will issue formal opinions on campaign finance in the same manner it issues ethics opinions. -- Legislation puts more enforcement in campaign finance reporting laws - TimesDaily: State Capital

    June 9, 2015

    "Fraudulent claims of voter fraud"

    The Anniston Star opines: In the latter half of the past century, Alabama, like most states, struck a workable balance between encouraging participation at the polls and fighting against voter fraud.

    Voters were asked to provide a form of identity, which might include a utility bill, a student ID or a simple voter registration card. It was a measure of accountability against in-person voter fraud yet not too much for something that is extremely rare and grossly ineffective in swaying most elections.

    About five years ago, things started to change in states dominated by Republicans. Despite no more than a few convictions for in-person voter fraud nationwide, these states erected fresh barriers to the ballot box. Alabama joined many others in requiring a picture ID before a registered voter could cast a ballot.

    Others, including this editorial board, wondered why stricter rules were necessary when evidence of fraud that would require tightened rules was absent. -- Editorial: Fraudulent claims of voter fraud - The Anniston Star: Opinion

    June 2, 2015

    "SEC Primary" bill awaits Governor's signature

    Yellowhammer News reports: After Alabama passed its bill moving primaries up to March 1st last week, joining Arkansas and four other Southern states, the ďSEC Primary,Ē appears to be ready to make waves during the 2016 presidential race.

    The Yellowhammer State will join Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia to hold its presidential primary election on March 1st as soon as Governor Robert Bentley (R-AL) signs the bill into law. Electoral heavy hitter Florida will also have its primary in March, waiting until two weeks after its neighbors for March 15th. ...

    Sen. Quinton Ross (D-Montgomery), who sponsored the bill in the Alabama Senate, called his bill an "economic stimulus," because it would encourage presidential candidates, and their massive cadres of campaign staff, to spend more time in the state. -- Ala. leads 'SEC Primary' to make the South a major player in the presidential race - Yellowhammer News

    Alabama bill to require more voter-ID for absentee ballots is dead

    AL.com reports: A bill that would require voters to submit a copy of their photo ID when requesting an absentee ballot in the state of Alabama is dead, Rep. Reed Ingram said.

    Ingram, R-Montgomery, who served as the bill's sponsor, said there is too much confusion over the legislation that Republicans say is an extra measure to prevent voter fraud.

    Ingram likely had enough Republican votes to get the bill passed, but not without a fight from Democrats on the House floor.

    The bill didn't have a third reading in the House of Representatives per Ingram's request.

    Currently, Alabama is one of only three states that require a photo ID to submit an absentee ballot. The new rule would have required absentee voters to submit a copy of their photo ID on the frontend as well. -- Absentee voter ID bill dead in Alabama Legislature, lawmakers say | AL.com