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Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill Responds to H.R. 4 Hearings


Wednesday, July 7, 2021 – MONTGOMERY – The following statement from Alabama Secretary of State John H. Merrill is a response to the ongoing hearings related to H.R. 4:

“H.R. 4, otherwise known as the ‘John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act,’ would require states to receive federal approval before making any change to the elections process. Since hearings on this topic are ongoing, I’d like to emphasize the ways Alabama has excelled in making the necessary changes to protect our elections:

“Alabama has proven how well elections can be administered in the states. We were the only state in the country to receive an ‘A’ in an election integrity scorecard for the first time in the history of the state.

“The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 requires each state to implement a systematic process for removing ineligible voters from the voter rolls, including people who have moved without updating their voter registration record. We have worked to remain in compliance with state and federal law and recently identified ways we can carry out this requirement more effectively and more efficiently.

“This past legislative session, Representative Rod Scott (D-Fairfield) and Senator Tom Butler (R-Madison) worked in a bipartisan way to revise the procedures used by the Secretary of State and Boards of Registrars to update the statewide voter registration database by using the change-of-address information supplied by the United States Postal Service. This legislation (Act 2021-534) allows our office to more easily and accurately identify voters who may have moved away so that we can remove them from the voter rolls and it allows the state to save almost one million dollars every quadrennium.

“Since taking office in January of 2015, as of today, we have registered 1,870,769 voters, bringing the state’s total number of registered voters to 3,594,036, and we have removed 1,268,795 ineligible voters from the voter rolls over that same period of time.

“Because of this extensive work, we are confident our voter rolls are accurate, up-to-date, and complete.

“Also, during the previous legislative session, a ban on double voting (Act 2021-448) was enacted, which made voting twice in the same or equivalent election, either in this state or in this state and another state, illegal. The passage of this legislation further aided election officials in making it easier to vote and harder to cheat.

“On Thursday, July 1, 2021, the Supreme Court, in Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, upheld an Arizona voting law that prohibits ballot harvesting and out of precinct voting. This ruling further proves that the voter suppression claims that resulted in this case and legislation like H.R. 4 are baseless.

“The provision outlined in H.R. 4 that was struck down by Shelby County v. Holder in 2013 was intended to be a temporary provision, and we know it is no longer necessary. Local decisions about the administration of elections at the local level are best left to the local community. We have proven that safe and secure elections can be accomplished successfully without federal intervention by continuing to break every record in Alabama for voter registration and voter participation.

“Just like our Founding Fathers, we believe decisions about elections should be left up to the individual states. In Alabama, we are going to continue to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat!”