Articles about voting issues in Alabama.

Alabama: Lawmaker concerned with delayed special election for Senator | WTVM

One lawmaker says the special election to replace U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ senator seat is illegal. After appointing Luther Strange to the seat, Governor Robert Bentley expressed that the special election to find a permanent replacement for the position would be held during the 2018 general election. According to Representative Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa), this is a crystal clear violation of a law. England says the law requires Bentley to call the election forthwith. By waiting until the November 2018 general election, Strange would serve more than a year and a half in the position without a public vote. Read More

Alabama: What Alabama law says (and doesn’t say) about special elections for Senate |

With the Alabama Code, what was intended, what gets written and how it’s interpreted are often different things, and so it is when setting special election to replace Jeff Sessions in the United States Senate. On Thursday, Gov. Robert Bentley set a special election to be held in 2018, at the same time as state and mid-term national elections. But was that legal? State Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa, says it wasn’t. “For anyone that has read the law, this is ILLEGAL,” England wrote on Facebook Thursday, above the relevant snippets of the Alabama Code. “Again, read it for yourself. If the vacancy occurs more than four months prior to the next upcoming general election, which it CLEARLY does, state law demands that the Governor call a special election ‘forthwith.'” I have read that section many times since last November, and I’ve gone over it with several lawyers I trust, and the verdict? It’s unclear. Read More

Alabama: Governor expected to pick ‘Big Luther’ Strange to replace Sessions | Politico

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley is strongly leaning toward picking the state’s attorney general to replace U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions after his confirmation Wednesday to become United States Attorney General, according to three Republican operatives with direct knowledge of the plans. The operatives all cautioned, however, that the mercurial governor hasn’t formally picked Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange to replace Sessions, and Bentley could change his mind.  … One possible advantage of appointing Strange, this operative said, is that Bentley — who has been implicated in a tawdry sex scandal and was under an impeachment investigation by the state legislature — gets to appoint a new attorney general who might be less inclined to prosecute him. Read More

Alabama: Congressman’s unsupported claim that Democrats rigged voting machines in his election | The Washington Post

While expressing support for the Trump administration’s plans to investigate potential voter fraud in the 2016 election, an Alabama congressman offered a stunning claim: Democrats rigged 11 of 45 voting machine in his first election to the state legislature in 1982. That’s a significant charge, especially since it’s pretty tough to rig an election. So we set out to find out whether facts supported Brooks’s claim. Brooks’s comment, made during congressional Republicans’ meeting with Vice President Pence, became public via a leaked audio recording of the private meeting. His office corroborated the statement but did not offer much evidence to support it. His office provided newspaper clippings showing there were complaints about malfunctioning voting machines in Brooks’s legislative district in Huntsville, Ala. During the afternoon on Election Day, Brooks announced that he planned on challenging election results and charged that 11 voting machines “at one time or another during the day would not register Mo Brooks’ votes.” Brooks changed his mind after he won the election. “I’m not going to contest it,” Brooks said at his victory party on election night. “But I hope there’ll be an investigation.” Read More

Alabama: Early voting not on Alabama Secretary of State’s agenda | Dothan Eagle

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. Read More

Alabama: Legislative districts ruled unconstitutional | Montgomery Adevertiser

A federal court ruled that 12 of Alabama’s legislative districts were unconstitutional, citing an improper use of race in their composition. The three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals enjoined the use of the districts in future elections but stopped short of intervening in the drawing of new districts. “It is this court’s expectation that the state legislature will adopt a remedy in a timely and effective manner, correcting the constitutional deficiencies in its plans in sufficient time for conducting the 2018 primary and general elections, without the need for court intervention,” the judges wrote in a separate order. The decision ends a chapter in a nearly five-year battle over the district lines – which has gone to the U.S. Supreme Court – and adds another item to a lengthy punch list awaiting state lawmakers next month. Read More

Alabama: Federal judges rule Alabama must redraw legislative districts |

A three-judge federal court panel has blocked Alabama from using in next year’s elections 12 legislative districts challenged as unconstitutional by black political groups. The districts are part of the district map drawn and approved by the Republican-led Alabama Legislature after the 2010 Census and were used in the 2014 election. The judges ruled for the plaintiffs on 12 of the 36 districts in dispute and enjoined the state from using those district lines again. The court ruled in favor of the state on the other 24 districts that were challenged. All 140 seats in the Alabama Legislature will be up for election next year. One of the three judges, U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson, issued a separate order dissenting, in part, from the other two judges, Circuit Judge Bill Pryor and Chief District Judge Keith Watkins. Read More

Alabama: The Voter Fraud Case Jeff Sessions Lost and Can’t Escape | The New York Times

When Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, Donald J. Trump’s choice for attorney general, answers questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, he can expect to revisit a long-ago case that has followed him. In 1985, when Sessions was the United States attorney in West Alabama, he prosecuted three African-American civil rights activists, accusing them of voter fraud. The case, more than any other, helped derail Sessions the last time he sought Senate confirmation, when he hoped to become a federal judge in 1986. Yet then and now, Sessions has defended the prosecution as necessary and just. If he had it to do over, Sessions would bring the case again, a Trump transition official told me in December. To some black leaders who lived through the prosecution, however, it remains a reason, all these years later, for grave concern about a Sessions-led Justice Department. “If he is attorney general, I would not expect the rights of all people, including the least among us, to be protected,” said Hank Sanders, a longtime Alabama state senator. “To understand why, you have to start with that case.” Albert Turner, Sessions’s chief target, began fighting for the right to vote in West Alabama in the early 1960s, trying to organize other African-Americans after he wasn’t allowed to register because he couldn’t pass a test used to thwart black applicants, even though he had a college education. Beginning in 1965, he served as state director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and an adviser to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., helping to organize a major voting rights demonstration that year. Speaking out and organizing was dangerous at the time. “There’s no explanation in the world as to how I’m still living,” Turner reflected a decade and a half later, in an article in the journal Southern Changes. Read More

Alabama: No special election to replace Sessions; Bentley says move could save $16 million |

Gov. Robert Bentley said Thursday that his appointee to replace Jeff Sessions in the U.S. Senate won’t have to face a special election for the seat later this year. Instead, the new senator would be up for election during the regularly scheduled contests in 2018, if he or she chooses to run. Bentley said that he could publicly name the new senator as soon as next week, and that he hopes to decide on the replacement by tomorrow. The decision to forgo a special election in 2017, according to governor, could save the state up to $16 million. “It’s a statewide election and you need a primary, runoff and general election,” Bentley said to the media following an appearance during the 11th annual Alabama First Class Pre-K Conference in Mobile. “Each one of those would cost $4 million to $5 million. It will save the state a lot of money.” Read More

Alabama: N.A.A.C.P. President Arrested During Sit-In at Office of Jeff Sessions | The New York Times

Protesters from the N.A.A.C.P., including its national president, were arrested on Tuesday after an hourslong sit-in at the Mobile, Ala., office of Senator Jeff Sessions, where they demanded that he withdraw his name from consideration as President-elect Donald J. Trump’s attorney general. Almost two dozen civil rights activists occupied the office around 11 a.m. to denounce what they called the senator’s “hostile” attitude toward civil rights and the Voting Rights Act, which was weakened by a Supreme Court decision in 2013. The sit-in ended shortly after 6:30 p.m. when the protesters refused an order from the building’s management to leave the premises. It was not immediately clear how many people had been arrested, but a live-stream broadcast on Facebook by Lee Hedgepeth, a local journalist, showed at least six people agreeing to be arrested and kneeling before the police in prayer. Read More