Obama Judge Strikes Down AL Voting Safeguards

Citing COVID-19 concerns, Obama appointee U.S. District Judge Abdul Kallon partially granted a temporary injunction that limits the enforcement of Alabama's voter ID law and witness/notarization requirement for absentee ballots in Jefferson, Mobile, and Lee counties. The ruling also prohibited any prohibition of curbside voting. Changing the rules less than a month before the election will likely be problematic. Widespread problems were reported during recent primary elections in states where last-minute changes were made to voting laws.

While the ruling only applies to the upcoming state runoff on July 14th, Judge Kallon welcomed plaintiffs moving for a separate injunction to apply to the other upcoming elections.

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill has consistently supported absentee voting for Alabamans who are unable to vote in person or feel uncomfortable doing so due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In March, he explained:

We have worked to provide safe, secure, and free elections for the people of Alabama through offering an extended absentee voting period for the upcoming Primary Runoff Election, and we will continue to see that Alabamians have the opportunity to participate in the electoral process in a way that does not affect their health or well-being.

However, Secretary of State Merrill also recognizes the need for protecting absentee voting from fraud. Election experts universally agree that absentee voting is more susceptible to fraud.

State officials will be appealing Judge Kallon's decision in the Eleventh Circuit. The decision to appeal received support from former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Alabama GOP Chair Terry Lathan:

There is no reason for the integrity of elections to be sacrificed to keep voters safe. Both are essential for voters to have faith in the electoral process.