Since John Merrill took office as secretary of state, Alabama has purged 658,000 voters from its rolls, Merrill said Monday. Most of those voters are dead, convicted of felonies or moved out of state, Merrill says. But one Democratic candidate for Congress says the number of purged voters is far higher than it should be. “We’re not going to take this lying down,” said Jacob Ray, campaign manager for Mallory Hagan. Hagan is running as a Democrat for Alabama’s 3rd District seat in Congress, now held by U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Saks. Last week, Hagan announced the creation of a “voter protection committee,” saying that 55,000 voters in the district had been disqualified or labeled inactive since February 2017.
Hagan at the time didn’t allege any wrongdoing by the state, but noted that Alabama had a long history of voter discrimination, and urged people to check to make sure their registration was still active.
The announcement sparked a weekend Twitter war between Hagan and Merrill, who traded jabs over the numbers. “You need to decide if you are running for Congress or for Secretary of State,” Merrill tweeted to Hagan. “I think it’s very obvious at this point that you’re not sure.”
“It’s hard to run for Congress if people can’t vote, John. Besides, @MilamForAL is the best candidate for the job,” Hagan replied, citing the Twitter page of Merrill’s Democratic opponent Heather Milam. “How about hopping off twitter and setting up a reminder for Alabama residents to register by Monday.”