114 after crist left office a law that reduced early

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114After Crist left office, a law that reduced early voting was signed by the new Republican governor. The law, enacted ostensibly to combat voter fraud and save money, was blamed for creating long lines at polling places and caus-ing people to give up on casting a ballot.115In another example, a federal appeals court struck down a North Carolina voter ID law in 2016, noting that the Legislature enacted the law with “discriminatory intent,” noting that it would “target African Americans with almost surgical precision.”116In Alabama, public officials have stoked voter fraud fears that are simply not supported by facts. The following section examines some of the more common claims made about voter fraud. As explained below, these claims are often misleading and do little beyond promoting efforts that threaten to put the ballot box out of reach of many eligible voters, particularly those who are young, low-in-come or from communities of color.ALABAMA ELECTION FAIRNESS PROJECT In early 2015, the secretary of state’s office launched the “Alabama Election Fairness Project” because as the secre-tary of state said, there was “no process for documenting voter fraud reports.”117The project includes a webpage that allows anyone to report suspected voter fraud.118The form asks for basic contact information and then gives the complainant 4,000 characters to “explain the basis for your complaint.”119The complainants do not need to verify their identity or provide any evidence to support their claim beyond stating what election law they believe was violated. Anyone can click a link, write a paragraph or so about their concern and submit. The secretary of state’s office regularly uses these unsub-stantiated claims as evidence that voter fraud exists. In July 2019, the secretary of state told Yellowhammer News that 928 instances of “alleged voter fraud” had been “intro-duced” to the office. The story refers to these reports as “cases,” noting that 925 “of these cases have been fully investigated and closed,” providing a veneer of legitimacy to these “reports” that is simply not there.120In other words, there have not been 928 credible reports of voter fraud turned over to the secretary of state’s office. Rather, a web page with an online form received 928 sub-missions. And only six submissions out of more than 900 resulted in convictions – a mere 0.65 percent, hardly evi-dence of widespread voter fraud. SIX VOTER FRAUD CONVICTIONS, OVERTURNED ELECTIONS The secretary of state’s office frequently uses the same few examples as proof of widespread voter fraud – six voter fraud convictions and two to three recent elections overturned.121These few examples, however, do more to underscore the rarity of voter fraud than endorse so-called anti-fraud measures that disenfranchise voters.

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