Secretary of State Beth Chapman released her legislative wish list today highlighting her top two priorities: military voting and photo voter identification.
Chapman is continuing her fight to expedite military voting in Alabama and has a proven electronic system used successfully by another state’s pilot program in the last election.
"The process my staff, the military voting task force and I have been advocating for has been tested and proven to work. It has the instant ability to increase the number of military and overseas voters’ ballots returned to our state by fifty percent or more," Chapman said.
The number of military absentee ballots requested in Alabama in the most recent election was 4,875; the number returned was only 1,125. That is a 23% return rate. Chapman says this is a problem nationwide, but is a worse problem in Alabama due to the length of time required by state law to receive ballots by U.S. Postal Service only.
Photo voter identification is something Chapman believes will deter voter fraud in Alabama. "It is our state’s strongest defense against voter fraud," Chapman said. "Voting is a sacred freedom and the use of photo identification will help preserve it."
Chapman says all costs associated with military voting will be absorbed by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funds of her office and the implementation of photo voter identification will be absorbed by her general office budget as well. "No additional taxes will be necessary to implement these two vitally needed laws," Chapman said.
Chapman says she strongly believes in the Alabama House and Senate’s willingness and desire to pass the legislation necessary to expedite military and overseas voting and implement photo voter identification.
Chapman will also be working to support and pass additional pieces of legislation regarding campaign finance reform, protecting the identity of victims of domestic violence on the voter list, safeguarding absentee ballots from abuse by potential vote brokering and creating harsher penalties for those who dare commit voter fraud.