Alabama House Democrats, including the Alabama Democratic Party chairman, rejected a preventative voter fraud measure, HB 167, designed to prevent voters from casting multiple ballots in a single election, dismissing it as an attempt to “further disenfranchise the black vote.”
While the Alabama House of Representatives ultimately passed the measure sponsored by Rep. Chris Blackshear (R) on Tuesday, House Democrats either abstained or rejected the measure, which aims to prevent individuals from casting a vote in Alabama if they also cast a ballot in another state for the same election — a move that is “not currently a violation of state law,” according to Yellow Hammer News.
Alabama Democratic Party chairman Chris England, who is among the throng of Democrats who rejected the measure, voted against it even after Blackshear accepted an amendment to the bill which essentially reduced the penalty from a Class C Felony to a Class A misdemeanor:
The amendment would institute the same change for the existing offense of voting more than once in Alabama in the same election.
The bill stipulates that an individual would have to knowingly, intentionally vote more than once in a single election for the act to be a crime.
Blackshear, in explaining the background of the bill, said data has shown that at least six Alabamians voted in multiple states in the same election in 2018; data is not yet available from the 2020 election. The bill sponsor stressed that while six voters is a minuscule percentage of the ballots cast statewide, one instance of voter fraud is one too many for his liking.
Democrats who rejected the voter fraud measure include Democrat Reps. England, Barbara Boyd, Prince Chestnut, Adline Clarke, Merika Coleman, Anthony Daniels, Laura Hall, Sam Jones, Tashina Morris, Neil Rafferty, John Rogers, and Juandalynn Givan, who asserted they are “one step away from Jim Crow” in the Yellowhammer State.
“One suit and one tie away from Jim Crow in the state of Alabama. We are one step away from counting jellybeans in a jar as black folks here in the state of Alabama,” said Givan, who recently introduced a failed bill that would have allowed localities to remove historic monuments. She later dismissed the GOP colleagues who rejected her measure as racist, describing Rep. Mike Holmes, a Republican, as “one of the most racist people in the United States of America.”
She described the legislation, to prevent people from voting multiple times in a single election, as an attempt to “further disenfranchise the black vote.”
Democrat Berry Forte abstained from a vote on HB 167 but blasted Republicans on the floor, expressing confusion over the push for election integrity measures and appearing to suggest they were aimed to prevent people from voting.
“All these bills y’all are passing ain’t going to stop [people from voting]. Everybody thought that everything was going to stop when Dr. King got assassinated, but it didn’t stop. … I don’t understand all these bills coming out,” he said, dismissing the measures as “nothing but voter suppression.”
Blackshear asked Forte if he believed every individual should have the right to vote, to which Forte agreed.
“OK, and if they do, do they have the right to vote one time, two times, three times — more than once?” Blackshear asked, although Forte did not answer, rather comparing the measure to the “persecution of Nelson Mandela in Apartheid-era South Africa.”
“So, what are y’all afraid of? What are y’all afraid of suppressing folks’ votes? … Y’all afraid we’ll take over and elect another black president?” he asked, adding he is “not a racist.”
Despite the partisan objection, recent surveys indicate Americans are in favor of protecting the integrity of the vote. A Rasmussen Reports survey released Wednesday showed 75 percent of Americans supporting voter ID laws, including 60 percent of Democrats.