Alabama election integrity secured in Senate

The Alabama Senate voted last week to uphold the integrity of Alabama elections with the passage of the Anti-Ballot Harvesting Bill.The bill, sponsored by Senator Garlan Gudger (R-Cullman), elevates the seriousness of voter fraud by making it a Class C felony for any third party to knowingly receive payment or gifts for distributing, ordering, requesting, collecting, completing, pre-filling, obtaining or delivering a voter’s absentee ballot application. Individuals who knowingly provide payment or gifts to third parties for similar actions regarding absentee ballots face Class B felony charges.

Exemptions within the bill accommodate U.S. citizens, military members and military families who vote by absentee ballot overseas. Voters requiring assistance due to blindness, disability or an inability to read or write may receive aid from an individual of their choosing.

“We are protecting Alabama voters from bad actors with rules that make it easy to vote and hard to cheat,” said Senator Gudger.

“Fraudsters have used ballot harvesting to prey on the integrity of our elections and manipulate voters. When the integrity of the process is in question, so is the legitimacy of the outcome — in Alabama, our elections will be transparent, trackable, and publicly verifiable.

”The legislation addresses concerns regarding ballot harvesting, a practice where third parties collect and submit absentee or mail-in ballots in exchange for payment. By prohibiting ballot harvesting, Senate Republicans will increase the integrity of the state’s electoral process and ensure that each vote is protected from misuse and interference.

“Today marked a significant step toward defending the integrity of elections in Alabama,” said Senator Steve Livingston, Alabama Senate Majority Leader. “The Senate Republican Caucus thanks Senator Gudger for his leadership on this issue and applauds his work in defending Alabamians against the fraud and abuse that comes with ballot harvesting.”

The bill now moves to the next stage of the legislative process and will be read in the House for consideration.

“The security of our elections is foundational to the integrity of our democracy. We have strong election laws in Alabama, and we want to make sure that absentee ballots are handled and cast in appropriate ways,” said Senator Reed, Senate President Pro Tempore. “We want to make sure that legitimate votes are protected and that those who would try to cheat our system cannot. I am proud of the efforts made by Senate Republicans today to make sure that your vote counts and will not be lessened by fraudulent ballot harvesting attempts.”

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