Rally against voter fraud set for next week

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 16, 2008

The Selma Times-Journal

GREENBORO &8212; When politicians tinker with the voting process, the Democracy Defense League sees reason to stand up and take notice.

The DDL has taken continued action against voter fraud throughout Alabama.

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The Perry-Hale County chapter of the DDL is leading a public rally on June 26 in the hopes that the public will become more aware of a problem that is decades old.

Alabama Secretary of State Beth Chapman has agreed to be keynote speaker at the event, which will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Marion Military chapel. Emily Thompson, Chapman&8217;s chief of staff, said this was something that took priority over other potential engagements.

Part of the league&8217;s argument for stronger legislation stems from the methods that candidates use to increase their vote totals. Bonds said manipulating absentee ballots and intimidating voters are common practices in Hale County and surrounding areas.

Alabama Attorney General Troy King seized voting records in Perry County days after the June 3 primary election. More than 1,000 absentee ballots cast in Perry County accounted for nearly 20 percent of the vote. Only seven absentee ballots were cast in Hale County.

King announced Monday that agents from his office had served subpoenas upon Lowndes County election officials and have taken custody of records relating to the June 3 primary. King stated that his agents served subpoenas upon Circuit Clerk Ruby Jones, Sheriff Chip Williams, and Probate Judge John Hulett.

Another complaint the DDL has is against the basic IDs voters can use at the polls. Banks said she has seen some people use power bills, hunting and fishing licenses and the corners of mailed letters.

The DDL endorses the requirement of photo IDs both during registration and at the polls.

Arguments against that include the fear of disenfranchisement among citizens.

In a January story in the Times-Journal, State Rep. Yusuf Salaam, D-Selma, said generally photo ID’s have a chilling effect on voters, and that he would oppose legislation that would keep voters from the polls.

The arguments for and against revised legislation also tend to focus on party loyalty and race.