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Secretary Merrill Responds to Inaccurate Article


Thursday, November 1, 2018 - MONTGOMERY - An article published late Wednesday evening by Lee Roop and Paul Gattis presented voters with an inaccurate and understandably concerning representation of Alabama’s 20-year voter list maintenance process. 

The article describes a number of students at Alabama A&M University. It is important to remember the process of address confirmation is one that applies to every member of the Alabama electorate as they register to vote, and is applied uniformly across Alabama’s 67 counties. Once registration is complete, a post card with the voter’s polling location and the offices that they are qualified to vote for is mailed to the voter. When a voter confirmation card is returned as undeliverable to the address the card is mailed to, voters are placed in address confirmation status (or inactive status). 

With these voters inactive status is different from the one associated with the National Voter Registration Act, and means that a voter needs to confirm or update the address where they are currently registered to vote. This status allows the voter to provide accurate up-to-date information while still participating in the election by casting the same standard ballot that all Alabama voters cast on election day. 

This process allows Alabama’s Board of Registrars to correct errors that may exist in a voter’s record. And, it provides a means to ensure voters are not disenfranchised because it ensures accurate information is on file for a voter and gives the opportunity for voters that may have moved since they submitted their voter registration information.

Since Secretary Merrill has taken office, the Alabama Secretary of State’s Office has become known across the state and nation for setting the standard for conducting free and fair elections that work to give the people of the state confidence that it is easy to vote and hard to cheat in Alabama. 

The authors of this article are clearly misinformed on Alabama’s voters list maintenance process that allows the state to effectively administer elections. In Alabama, since Secretary Merrill has been the Secretary of State, the state has seen the highest number of voters turnout in the 2016 Presidential Preference Primary, the 2016 General Election, and the 2017 Senate Special Election. Additionally, through the implementation of the online voter registration system the number of newly registered voters are the highest in state history.

Further, Madison County Probate Judge Tommy Ragland has already been informed by the Secretary of State’s Office that as the chief election official in the county the only person in danger of disenfranchising voters is him. If Judge Ragland does not provide enough poll workers to process voters on election day he will have failed the citizens of Madison County. 

It is hard to be skeptical of concrete data and it is a disservice to the people of the State of Alabama to be presented with inaccurate and inflammatory information so close to an election in which they will make determinations on those people that will represent them at the local, state, and federal levels.