(MONTGOMERY)- The Office of Attorney General will answer questions, examine any allegations of election fraud, and actively investigate any legitimate complaints of wrongdoing in the July 15 primary run-off election, according to Attorney General Troy King. A toll-free hotline will be available to assist citizens and election officials with any allegations of wrongdoing or legal inquiries.
The Office of Attorney General has assigned an attorney specializing in election law to a hotline. Citizens may call the Attorney General's Office with questions about election law and information about alleged violations and voter fraud at 1-800-831-8814. There is no charge for calls to this number.
The Office of Attorney General is prepared to respond to any legal questions and complaints about voting practices in Alabama, providing a base of information and reassuring citizens that legitimate reports of election fraud will be investigated. "Government has no greater responsibility than to ensure that our elections are honest and fair, and this toll free hot line will help further that effort," stated Attorney General King.
"Honest government begins with honest elections and I want to ensure that this election is conducted honestly and fairly for all voters. The integrity of the election process demands accountability to the people and fidelity to the law," Attorney General King said. "If it is brought to my attention that improprieties have occurred, I pledge that we will review them and take appropriate action, wherever it may lead. Make no mistake, this office will investigate and prosecute any illegal acts that would interfere with or impugn the election process," Attorney General King said.
The Attorney General emphasized that he will continue to enforce 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.
Attorney General King noted the Code of Alabama 1975, Section 17-10-17, makes it 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 is imprisonment of one to two years or a fine of $500 to $2,000, or both.
Attorney General King noted the following common inquiries received by the Office of Attorney General during previous elections:
- The assignment of poll watchers is provided by law as a safeguard of the elections process. Under Code of Alabama 1975, Section 17-16-26, 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, according to Code of Alabama 1975, Sections 17-7-18 and 17-7-19. 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. The procedures set forth in state law for assisting voters have been modified by court order.
The Attorney General also reminds voters that voter identification is now required before casting your ballot and the following forms of identification may be accepted: