Alabama Secretary of State discusses federal judge ruling on curbside voting, absentee ballots

Merill said Attorney General Steve Marshall plans to challenge the judge's decision.

Posted: Oct 2, 2020 9:21 PM
Updated: Oct 2, 2020 9:38 PM

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill talked about a federal judge's ruling this week that curbside voting will be allowed in Alabama and how the ruling blocked some absentee voting laws established in the state.

Merrill told WAAY 31 he's not happy with the ruling.

He said with a little bit more than a month until Election Day he doesn't agree with US District Judge Abdul Kallon's decision to rule against Alabama state law for voting procedures and rules.

"He is a judicial activist, he is a legislator on the bench, and that's a major concern for us. Because he has practically attempted to change Alabama law and caused a great deal of confusion just 32 days before the election is scheduled to occur," he said.

"The judge has taken away the safeguards and the provisions that we have established through state law that says you have to have 2 signatures or a notary and that you need to provide an excuse and an ID. He's removed those safeguards that provide transparency, accountability in the process."

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Merrill said he's not just concerned about absentee ballot safeguards, but he explained why curbside voting is against the law in the state.

"You lose the chain of custody in the ballot process when you have curb side voting," he said.

"Curbside voting is not permissible in the state of Alabama because you lose the chain of custody. When someone thinks they're giving their ballot to an individual. Whether that person is a poll worker or volunteer or whatever. If they're taking it to another location to put it in the tabulator so it will be counted.

"How does that voter know it's going to be counted for the candidate of their choice instead of the person who they gave it to who may doctor the ballot, amend the ballot, manipulate the ballot, sometime between the time they received it and the time they put it in the tabulator?"

Merrill explained his office has directed probate judges across the state to follow the laws in place in Alabama. The voting laws currently go against the judge's ruling.

"What I said was you need to follow established state law related to the standards of election procedure in Alabama," he said.

Merrill said Alabama Attorney General, Steve Marshall, and him are planning to appeal the judge's decision. However, he didn't give a timeline of when that appeal will be filed in court.

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