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March 4, 2011
EDITORIAL: Photo Identification Will Help Protect the Voting Process

Beth Chapman, Alabama Secretary of State


My name is Amelia Earhart and I am Alabama’s Secretary of State. When I was sworn into office, I vowed three things: honest elections, honest elections and honest elections. One of the easiest and most effective ways of accomplishing that is by requiring photo identification at the polls. That would prove to you and others that I am not just who I say I am, but who I really am - Beth Chapman, Alabama’s Secretary of State.


When it comes to the sacred right to vote, the old adage, “Put your money where your mouth is,” has been replaced with, “Put your photo where your identification is.”


Citizens and election officials alike want this protection. According to a nationwide poll conducted by Rasmussen last year, 82 percent of citizens surveyed believe a photo ID should be required to vote in U.S. elections. Alabamians are no exception to this belief.


If an 18 year old has to show photo identification to purchase a ticket for the latest movie rated above PG-13, shouldn’t we require at least the same for voting? Do we regard casting our ballot lower than returning an item to Best Buy where a customer must also show photo identification to receive a refund, or a bank to cash a check? One must even have a photo ID to check their child out of most schools or to board a Greyhound bus. Voting should not be held to the lowest standard in our society, but to the highest.

It seems those who oppose photo ID have the most to lose by its implementation: no more vote brokering or exchanging ballots for money, or other goods or services. We cannot and must not allow this to continue.


During the past four years, my staff and I have fought against those who attack democracy by robbing others of their right to vote or intimidating or bribing them into turning over their absentee ballots. While we have stopped dead people from voting and fought hard against voter fraud, there is much work left to be done. 


It is my belief that photo identification is the first line of defense against voter fraud at the polling places of this great state. My staff and I have created legislation to do just that.  I ask you to join me in ensuring the legislature passes photo voter identification requirements by calling or emailing your local legislators today and asking them to support HB19.


If you have questions regarding who your legislators are, look them up online at, or call (334) 242- 7600 for the House of Representatives or (334) 242-7800 for the Senate.


For more information, visit Secretary of State John H. Merrill’s Web Site: