Some Voters Required to Verify Information at the Polls

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An attempt to update the state’s voter rolls left some Alabama voters confused and angry at the polls in Tuesday’s US Senate primary. That was the race to fill the seat formerly held by Jeff Sessions.

Amy Wright has been voting in the same polling for the last 18 years. On Tuesday, she walked up to the poll worker at the Homewood public library, who looked up her name. “And she looked me up and she said, ‘You’re not on here.’ And I said, what?”

Turned out Wright and her husband had been moved to the inactive voter rolls. Wright had to fill out some paperwork before she was allowed to vote. “It’s a verification form,” she says. “You have to write down your name, address, previous address, driver’s license number. And a poll worker had to sign off on it. Wright says she’s voted in every election for years. And what happened Tuesday seemed suspicious. “You know, somebody could blame it on a computer glitch or whatever. But there is absolutely no reason my name would not have been on that list.”

Wright wasn’t the only one who was bumped to the inactive voter rolls. The same thing happened to Congressman Mo Brooks, who was a candidate in the Senate primary. Also, state Rep. Patricia Todd, and a federal judge in Montgomery.

Amy Wright says she has “absolutely zero” faith in Alabama’s voting system.

Merrill says from January to March, his office mailed every registered Alabama voter a postcard requesting information verification. He says that’s required by the National Voter Registration Act. “This is the first time in the history of the state that Alabama’s been fully compliant with the law,” he says.

He says problems stemmed from verification notices his office sent bouncing back to the post office. They’d end up at county election offices, and residents would be knocked off the active voter rolls. Merrill says his office has no plans to look into this any further, and that no one was denied the right to vote. It’s unclear how many of Alabama’s 3.3 million registered voters were affected. Turnout in Tuesday’s primary was just under 18 percent.


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