Ala. Official Lashes Out When Filmmaker Says Registering To Vote Is Complicated

AP

After complaining that “lazy people” would be rewarded by automatically registering residents to vote when they turn 18, the top elections official in Alabama on Wednesday night lashed out at criticism of the state’s registration process.

During an interview for Brian Jenkins’ upcoming documentary “Answering the Call,” Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said that automatic voter registration would “cheapen the work” of civil rights leaders who fought for the right to vote.

In a tweet responding to Rep. Terry Sewell’s (D-AL) criticism of Merrill’s comments, Jenkins said he has found that the voter registration process in Alabama is “complex and complicated.”

In response, Merrill threatened to prosecute Jenkins if he was registered in two states, even though Jenkins never claimed to be registered in Alabama.

In a Thursday statement, Jenkins said that Merrill’s response to him on Twitter shows that the fight for voting rights is not over in Alabama.

“Alabama has a long history of jailing people in the fight for voting rights and it looks like some things haven’t changed in 50 years. The spirit of George Wallace and Jim Clark is alive and well in the Alabama State House and John Merrill’s threats should serve as a reminder that this work isn’t over,” Jenkins said. “John Merrill has been tasked with overseeing a fair and democratic election in Alabama – he has proven that he is not capable of doing so.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.
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