(MONTGOMERY)—Attorney General Luther Strange today asserted the State of Alabama’s commitment to protect the integrity of the upcoming primary election and to fight voter fraud. He also provided information about new photo identification card requirements and common voter inquiries.
Attorney General Strange warned those who commit voter fraud that they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of state law. “The right to vote is a sacred, fundamental civil right and the foundation of our democracy. It is vital that we preserve the integrity of our elections process. We take all allegations of voter fraud seriously, and when the situation and facts warrant it, we will investigate and prosecute these matters aggressively.”
The Attorney General emphasized the enforcement of absentee ballot statutes. The law requires that an absentee ballot must be witnessed by two adults or be notarized in order to be counted as a legal ballot. (Note: the notarization requirement does not apply to military and overseas voters subject to the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act.)
Under state law, it is a felony to:
willfully alter the vote on someone else’s absentee ballot,
willfully cast more than one absentee ballot in the same election,
willfully vote in someone else’s name or falsify absentee ballot documents, or to
solicit or encourage illegal absentee voting activities.
The penalty for absentee ballot fraud is imprisonment of one year and one day up to 10 years, a fine of up to $15,000, or both.
Reports of information and concerns about suspected voter fraud are made to the Secretary of State’s Office for review and then may be forwarded to the Attorney General’s Office or the appropriate District Attorney’s Office. These reports may be made by filing online at http://www.stopvoterfraudnow.com/reportOnline.aspx; emailing to firstname.lastname@example.org; calling toll-free to 1-800-274-VOTE (8683); faxing to (334) 242-4993; or by mailing to Secretary of State’s Office, Voter Fraud Unit, P.O. Box 5616, Montgomery Alabama, 36103-5616. Additionally, information about voter fraud is available on the webpage http://www.stopvoterfraudnow.com.
The Attorney General also reminded voters that a photo identification card is now required before casting your ballot and the following forms of identification may be accepted:
1. a valid Alabama driver’s license;
2. a valid Alabama nondriver identification card which was properly issued by the appropriate state or county department or agency;
3. a valid Alabama photo voter identification card;
4. a valid identification card issued by a branch, department, agency, or entity of the State of Alabama, any other state, or the United States authorized by law to issue personal identification, provided that such identification card contains a photograph of the elector;
5. a valid U.S. passport;
6. a valid employee identification card containing the photograph of the elector and issued by any branch, department, agency, or entity of the U.S. government, the State of Alabama, or any county, municipality, board, authority, or other entity of this state;
7. a valid student or employee identification card issued by a public or private college, university, or postgraduate technical or professional school located within the State of Alabama, provided that such identification card contains a photograph of the elector;
8. a valid U.S. military identification card, provided that such identification card contains a photograph of the elector; or
9. a valid tribal identification card containing a photograph of the elector.
To learn more about photo ID requirements and how to obtain a proper ID card, you may visit www.alabamavoterid.com or contact your local Board of Registrars.
Attorney General Strange noted the following common inquiries received during previous elections:
The assignment of poll watchers is provided by law as a safeguard of the elections process. Under state law, each candidate may appoint a single poll watcher for each polling place by presenting a letter to the inspectors of that polling place.
Poll watchers are allowed to remain in the voting place during all voting hours, and to watch the tallying of the ballots afterward. They cannot assist voters, campaign at the polls, or suggest how anyone should vote; nor can a poll watcher wear any button, ribbon or other article bearing the candidate’s name. However, a citizen who is at the polls to vote or to assist someone in voting is allowed to do so.
In addition to poll watchers, only voters, people who are assisting voters, election officials, sheriffs and deputies are allowed inside the polling place or within 30 feet of the door. Campaigning within 30 feet is strictly prohibited.
A voter who desires assistance at the polls is allowed to get help from anyone, except that voter’s employer or an agent of the employer, or an officer or agent of the voter’s union. The voter is not required to give any reason for requesting assistance, or to take any oath. The voter must simply name the person who will assist, and both must sign the poll list.