House approves bill to ban help on absentee ballots, unless from family
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Republican lawmakers say they want to prevent voter fraud by passing legislation that changes the absentee ballot process. Although lawmakers on both sides agree there are no widespread election issues, supporters say this will bring Alabama to the forefront of election security.
House Democrats expressed their frustration over what they call a bad bill.
“Merely handing someone a blank absentee ballot application can subject you to a year in jail,” said Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa County.
The bill makes it a felony for anyone other than family to distribute, order, request, collect, complete, obtain, or deliver an absentee ballot.
The legislation impact organizations that assist voters. Representatives tabled an amendment from Rep. Barabra Drummond that would exempt nonpartisan organizations like the NAACP from the bill.
“If it’s successful in passing through both actions and the governor signs it, we are going to be looking at some possible legal action to take against this,” said Benard Simelton, President of the Alabama State Conference of the NAACP.
There is an amendment that allows disabled persons to use their disability as a defense in a court of tried under this bill.
The bill passed the House along party lines.
“I applaud this legislation because once again it brings Alabama to the forefront for election security and safety,” said Rep. Chip Brown, R-Mobile County.
This will head to a Senate committee. The secretary of state, Wes Allen supports this bill.
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