Secretary of State John Merrill said during a Tuesday visit to Dothan that he does not plan to push for an early voting period in Alabama because he does not believe early voting increases voter turnout. “We have early voting. It is called absentee voting,” Merrill said while speaking to the Dothan-Houston County Rotary Club. Merrill also said he would not oppose “excuse free” absentee voting. “I am not aware of a single instance where early voting has increased voter turnout. It just increases costs. You have to pay extra money for people to work the polls and we want to be careful with your money,” Merrill said.
Merrill also said that if absentee voting turned into de facto early voting, he would push for a photo ID requirement in order to receive an absentee ballot application.
“You’ve already seen examples of voter fraud right here in your own county,” Merrill said, referring to four convictions connected to the 2013 re-election campaign of Dothan District 2 Commissioner Amos Newsome. The four convictions indicated at least 42 absentee ballots were fraudulently cast in the election.