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Secretary of State’s Office Plans to Send Monitors for Upcoming Abbeville Election

Published: Aug. 3, 2020 at 5:26 PM CDT
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ABBEVILLE, Ala. (WTVY) - A fair and honest process- That’s the reason Secretary of State John Merrill says he’s sending observers to Abbeville later this month for their upcoming election..

Merrill says his office has received several phone calls from a few Abbeville residents who’ve expressed concerns over the election process. But he wants to make clear- the decision to send those observers is not meant as a lack of confidence in those election officials- but rather to ensure fairness.

“We’ve got lots of people running, and that’s a good thing,” Abbeville Mayor Billy Helms said.

Several city seats are up for grabs, including the mayoral seat. Helms says he’s been in contact with Merrill’s office, and that he had heard some observers could be sent. But he says residents have the right to be cautious.

“Well I kind of figure that somebody must have doubts on the election,” Helms said.

“We think its incumbent on us as the chief election official for the state of Alabama to listen to those concerns whenever its warranted or merited to make sure that we fully evaluate whats going on in those particular communities,” Secretary of State Merrill said.

Merrill says he’s planning to send a team from his office to monitor the process.

“We want to make sure that the elections have integrity, credibility, accountability, and to make sure that all of the people that participate in the process know that their vote will count for the candidate of their choice. We want everyone to vote, but just one time,” Merrill said.

Merrill says this move isn’t to discredit the officials in charge of the process- but rather to give the people peace.

“Simply an opportunity for us to make sure that we’re working with them in a way that raises their level of support and their knowledge of being sure that we’re there to support what they’re attempting to do,” Merrill said.

Mayor Helms says he welcomes anyone from the Secretary of State’s office with open arms.

“We want it to be right. We want the election to be right and we want the election to reflect the honest votes of this town,” Helms said.

Merrill says the team he sends will be evaluating things like absentee participation, absentee applications and other parts of the election process to ensure that everyone’s vote is counted properly.

If you’re concerned about suspicious activity during any upcoming election, call the secretary of state’s office at 334-242-7200. You can also fill a report out at www.stopvoterfraudnow.com.

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