Long lines, voting machine malfunctions, and untrained poll workers scattered throughout the state. Alabama, on November 6, had its share of Election Day problems similar to what other states experienced. Georgia and Florida had reportedly lines that lasted as long as waiting to get on a ride at Six Flags, according to media reports. Cries about voter “suppression” or “fraud” in each state — depending on a critic’s partisan leanings — have erupted ever since Election Day. “Elections are an incredibly complicated process and there are so many moving parts for it all to go right on Election Day,” said Richard Fording, a political science professor at the University of Alabama. “There will inevitably be mistakes made.” But almost as common as election-related snafus are the subsequent calls for reform. And in Alabama, there will be a push in 2019 for legislation to address some of the problems experienced on November 6.
From early voting to streamlining Alabama’s absentee balloting process, state lawmakers will have their hands full next spring with election-related issues presented in the legislative process.
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, a Republican former state lawmaker who is approaching his fourth year heading up the state’s elections, is already pitching several measures. Chief among them is a proposal to eliminate a state requirement that absentee voters to provide an excuse as to why they cannot vote in person.
How much of those reforms pass through a Republican supermajority Legislature described as “the most conservative” to arrive to Montgomery, is a point of debate.