News & Politics

Dems say Alabama SOS Won't Share New Voter Rolls

The Alabama Democratic Party is planning to sue Alabama's Republican secretary of state.
Alabama Secretary of State, Beth Chapman, a Republican, is refusing to give the Alabama Democratic Party a copy of the state's updated voter lists unless the Democrats pay $28,000, the Associated Press reported.

Chapman said her office is only required to provide the lists free of charge once a year and already did so during the 2008 primary election.

In response, state Democratic Party Chairman Joe Turnham said Democrats will file a lawsuit by Friday to get the lists. Chapman told the AP that "partisanship" was not a factor in her decision; however Turnham suggested that her actions could be intended to "stifle voter turnout."

Updated voter rolls are the basis of numerous campaign and election activities, from contacting voter rolls to redrawing precinct boundaries. Not providing the lists to a major party is tantamount to tilting the electoral playing field to the other party's advantage.

Perhaps more ominously, Turner also said this week that some county election officials have not been able to process a surge in new voter registration applications.

"This is serious. This is a political emergency," Turnham told the Birmingham News. "It's September and many have not received voter registration cards telling them their polling place."

Turnham called on Chapman to provide additional workers in counties that are experiencing problems such as Jefferson, Montgomery, Lee, Wilcox and Autauga.

"She is the chief election officer in Alabama and is responsible for all these offices and is supposed to be a champion of finding voter fraud, but the great voter fraud here, ladies and gentleman, is the fact that a state political party and tens of thousands of voters that are now registering to vote or attempting to vote are potentially having their right ... stifled by the chief elections officer," Turnham told the paper.

Chapman said she had not heard about this problem.

"We are about solving problems, not talking about them," Chapman said. "If the Democrat Party knows of these problems, they need to notify us. They have not and they are the ones doing voters a disservice."

With political rhetoric, don't expect these issues to be resolved soon. As both sides know, limiting who can and cannot vote has everything to do with who wins on Election Day.
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