FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 22, 2012
AG, SECRETARY OF STATE WARN AGAINST VOTER FRAUD
(MONTGOMERY)—Attorney General Luther Strange and Secretary of State Beth Chapman today held a news conference to focus on Alabama’s commitment to protect the integrity of the upcoming general election and to fight voter fraud.
Attorney General Strange and Secretary Beth Chapman, in partnership with district attorneys across Alabama, warn those who commit voter fraud that they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of state law. They were joined at the news conference by U.S. Attorney George Beck for the Middle District of Alabama and Randy Hillman, Director of the Alabama District Attorneys’ Association.
State officials are emphasizing the importance of fair and honest elections in the wake of concerns raised in recent months, particularly regarding the use of absentee ballots. After alleged improprieties were reported to both the Attorney General and the Secretary of State, the officials announced their plan of action for a unified and comprehensive response. No comment or information may be provided at this time about particular cases that may be under review.
"We take all allegations of voter fraud seriously, and when the situation and facts warrant it, we will investigate and prosecute these matters aggressively," stated Attorney General Strange. "The right to vote is a sacred, fundamental civil right and the foundation of our democracy. It is vital that we preserve the integrity of our elections process."
In 2008, Secretary of State Chapman’s office created a Voter Fraud Unit dedicated to dealing with reports of voter fraud. This unit is comprised of attorneys and elections staff members trained to receive and process voter fraud complaints. A website established by the Secretary of State provides a form for reporting complaints that were then reviewed by the Voter Fraud Unit and may be forwarded to the Attorney General’s Office or the appropriate district attorney’s office.
"When I ran for the office of Secretary of State I said there were three priorities of my office, honest elections honest elections and honest elections. We have seen more honest elections but we have a long way to go in the fight against voter fraud" Secretary Chapman said.
In light of recent allegations, the Attorney General emphasized particularly the enforcement of 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.
Under state law, it is 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 year and one day up to 10 years, a fine of up to $15,000, or both.
Citizens who have information about voter fraud may report it through one of the following ways:
Information about voter fraud is available on the webpage http://www.stopvoterfraudnow.com.
Additional information about the elections process in Alabama may be found at http://www.sos.alabama.gov/downloads/election/2012/2012voterguide.pdf