Rep. Allen Says Voting Bill Protects Election Integrity, Others Express Concern

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) – Before we know it, it will be time to go back to the polls.

A state representative is sponsoring a bill that he says aims to protect the integrity of our elections.

However, this bill sounds alarm bells for some voter education advocates.

Prevent private money from financing the elections –

State Rep. Wes Allen says that’s the primary goal of Bill 194.

“There is evidence in the 2020 election that Mark Zuckerberg spent millions of dollars on quote-on-quote to help local election officials across the county, primarily in left-leaning counties across the country, by providing funds and personnel to work at different stages of the electoral process and that’s just something we don’t need,” Rep. Allen said.

The CTCL is a non-profit organization that Mark Zuckerberg paid to award these grants. Counties used the money for things like paying poll workers, state-approved voting technology and face masks.

According to documents obtained by WAFF from the Secretary of State’s office, five counties in Alabama, not North Alabama, have accepted grants funded by Zuckerberg to pay for campaign expenses.

They are Bullock, Dallas, Macon, Montgomery and Wilcox.

Secretary of State John Merrill said the state reimburses counties for election expenses, so there was no need for them to accept these grants.

“We have made it clear to every county in the state, all 67 counties in the 2020 election cycle if you need resources for any purpose in the 2020 election cycle, just ask us, tell us. us why you need it and then we will provide it. However, some counties are overzealous, and every time someone stands there with dollar bills, they want to reach out and say we would love to have those resources,” Secretary Merrill said.

While he is in favor of preventing private money from funding elections, he thinks this bill as written will prevent organizations like the League of Women Voters from helping register people to vote.

“We will only support the legislation if the necessary changes are made to ensure it does not infringe on the rights of groups trying to participate in the electoral process,” Merrill said.

“He said Kathy, we are concerned about this bill because it would make it illegal to do what the league is doing,” Kathy Jones said.

Kathy Jones, the president of the League of Women Voters of Alabama, thinks the state will see a drop in voter numbers if this passes.

“The language is very confusing, but the intent is very clear, that this is to ensure that even if the sponsor of the bill were considering something else, there would be a chilling effect on volunteers and rights groups vote,” Jones explained.

Representative Wes Allen says that is not the case.

“I mean, as long as they don’t give the money to the local probate judge or the local circuit clerk in administering the election process, the League of Women Voters can pick up people registered to vote. I don’t understand that concern,” Rep. Allen said.

The bill is awaiting approval at the State House.

The League of Women Voters will be on the steps of the state capitol on Tuesday to protest the bill.

Copyright 2022 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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