SCOTT ZIPPERLE • MANAGING EDITOR
UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA — Alabama Secretary of State, John Merrill, visited his alma mater to speak to the UA College Republicans Tuesday, October 4.
Merrill’s central talking points emphasized the state’s effort to increase voter registration and support the policy requiring every eligible U.S. citizen in Alabama has a valid, state-issued identification card. Merrill acknowledged his opposition’s counter-argument, stating the need for voter ID suppresses people’s rights to vote. Merrill followed up with a counter of his own in defense of it: he said it prevents voter fraud as well as provides legitimacy to the political process.
“Every one of you are required— even when you sign a lease to an apartment— to show your driver’s license,” Merrill said. “When you went to open a checking account in Tuscaloosa, you had to show your driver’s license. Isn’t voting just as important as those things?”
Merrill made it clear that he and the policy’s supporters should not have to apologize for “doing the right thing.”
According to The Washington Times, Colorado reported at least 78 dead people are registered to vote. Virginia found that over 1,000 non-citizens were registered to vote in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. AL.com reported on an investigation relating to voter fraud via fraudulent absentee ballot applications in August.
In reaction to his opponents’ cry of voter suppression, Merrill is behind an initiative to increase voter registration that involves a mobile unit that goes all over the state and visits communities where accessibility to obtaining a valid ID is limited. Merrill has also gone directly to the homes of citizens who he described as having mobility issues and transportation problems to provide them with a state-issued, photo ID.
Merrill touted Alabama’s proactivity in registering 14,000 new voters in the span of 19 months.