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  1. #1
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    AL - Uniontown voting raises questions

    Uniontown voting raises questions



    The total votes cast in Uniontown on Tuesday — 1,431 — represented a turnout of 55 percent of the number of registered voters and a whopping 80.6 percent of the town’s population.
    File photo

    By Dana Beyerle
    Montgomery Bureau Chief
    Published: Thursday, August 30, 2012

    MONTGOMERY | The U.S. Justice Department’s voting rights section sent poll watchers to monitor elections in three small Alabama towns Tuesday. Maybe they should have been in tiny Uniontown, where the municipal election produced some extraordinary numbers.

    Uniontown has a population of 1,775, according to the 2010 census but, according to the Perry County board of registrars, has 2,587 registered voters.

    The total votes cast there Tuesday — 1,431 — represented a turnout of 55 percent of the number of registered voters and a whopping 80.6 percent of the town’s population. When compared with the 1,140 people in the town who are 18 and older, according to the census, the turnout was 125 percent.

    Deputy Secretary of State Emily Thompson said Wednesday that it’s possible to have more registered voters than a town’s listed population due to a number of factors, including census error and because voter registrars have strict guidelines in removing voters, even inactive ones.

    Perry County Board of Registrars chairwoman Lucy Kynard said that 279 of the town’s registered voters were “removable” due to being dead or having been convicted of felonies.

    Also, according to election officials, 650 absentee ballots were cast in the Uniontown election, or 45 percent of the total. An absentee ballot is supposed to be given to voters who say they will be out of the city or county on Election Day. The state average for absentee voting is 3 to 5 percent, state records show.

    When asked Wednesday about the number of registered voters compared with the town’s population, Alfreda Washington, the Uniontown city clerk and election manager, replied, “I haven’t given it a thought.”

    The board of registrars, not Washington, is responsible for registering voters.

    Thompson said voting complaints are referred to the local district attorney and that if a written complaint is received, a copy would go to the Attorney General’s Office.

    Thompson said Secretary of State Beth Chapman has visited Perry County in the past.

    “She is absolutely committed to ensuring that only qualified voters are registered in any county but also that registrars follow the correct procedures for removal,” Thompson said. “There are strict federal and state mandates on how someone can be removed from a voter list and voter registrars in every county must be careful to adhere to those guidelines.”

    The Justice Department sent poll watchers to Lanett, Phenix City and Reform on Tuesday. A department spokesman, Mitchell Rivard, would not say why the three towns were chosen, but he distributed a statement that said poll watchers can monitor elections in counties covered by the Voting Rights Act for past voter discrimination.

    Patsy Cloninger, administrative secretary for Lanett City Clerk Deborah Daniel, said the Justice Department wanted to know how the town arrived at its voting list.

    Phenix City in Russell County and Reform in Pickens County got their first black mayors and the mayor of Lanett, who is black, was elected unopposed.

    PhoenixCity voters elected former University of Alabama football player Eddie Lowe and voters in Reform elected the town’s first black mayor, Bennie Harton, a town councilman.

    Uniontown voting raises questions | TuscaloosaNews.com
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  2. #2
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    Justice Department probe sought in Uniontown

    Agriculture commissioner calls absentee ballot totals ‘fishy'


    By Dana Beyerle
    Montgomery Bureau Chief
    Published: Saturday, September 1, 2012

    MONTGOMERY | State Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan on Friday called for U.S. Justice Department voting monitors to investigate possible irregularities in the Uniontown municipal elections.

    The agriculture commissioner, the governor and state auditor each appoint one member of the three-member county boards of voting registrars, except in Jefferson County.

    Questions were raised after Tuesday's election, when it appeared 125 percent of Uniontown's population of 1,775 people were registered to vote. A total of 1,431 people voted for mayor and slightly fewer than that voted in the council races, 570 of them by absentee ballot. The statewide average for absentee voting is about 5 percent of total votes.

    On Thursday, Attorney General Luther Strange's office said it was “looking into” the Uniontown numbers.

    “It's obvious something fishy is going on with absentee ballots,” McMillan said.

    According to the 2010 Census, Uniontown has 1,140 residents 18 or older.

    McMillan noted that federal poll watchers attended municipal elections in Lanett, Phenix City and Reform, watching for possible race-related voting problems.

    “They should inject themselves in something like this,” McMillan said. “I'd be happy to sign anything, a letter, to get them involved in Uniontown.”

    Perry County Commissioner Albert Turner Jr.(D) said the extraordinary turnout was attributable to civic pride by Uniontown voters who wanted to reward incumbent Mayor Jamaal Hunter and council members for securing a significant grant to fix the town's chronic sewer system problems.

    There could be legitimate reasons for a 130-percent voter registration in Uniontown, including a population undercount by the Census Bureau, a lag in purging names from the voter rolls or new people moving into town.

    In an interview earlier this week, the chair of the Perry County board of registrars, Lucy Kynard, said officials know that would-be voters who do not live in Uniontown have claimed to have moved to a known address in order to cast a vote.

    She said registrars cannot check every residence, and when they do, they check only to see if a submitted address is real. They cannot deny a voting application if it appears legitimate, even if it's submitted by mail.

    Alabama residents can register to vote and cast a vote by mail, with at least one of 19 approved forms of identification.

    State Republicans have called for the U.S. Justice Department to approve a 2011 Alabama law requiring a photo ID to vote.
    No federal election watchers were in Perry County for Tuesday's elections.

    Secretary of State Beth Chapman said she has been writing the Justice Department for years, asking for election help.

    “Years ago I referred to Perry County as the poster child for voter fraud,” she said.

    U.S. Justice Department spokesman Mitchell Rivard has declined comment about alleged voting problems in Uniontown.

    Chapman wrote the Obama Justice Department in May 2010 asking for June primary observers in Greene, Lowndes, Macon, Perry and Wilcox counties. Chapman spokeswoman Emily Thompson said the Justice Department did not respond.

    Chapman, as the chief voter official in the state, said Perry County is the only county she has visited where she felt it necessary to have security. “There was a fight that broke out one time in a parking lot,” she said.

    Chapman's office responded to a state open records request for correspondence with the Justice Department about Perry County.
    Letters she released show that she has written Justice Department officials during the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the latest in May 2010 when she wrote that absentee ballots and vote buying may be occurring in Wilcox, Perry, Greene, Macon and Lowndes counties.

    The last time federal observers were in Perry County was during the November 2008 general election. In July of that year, Chapman thanked the chief of the voting rights section for sending federal election observers for the June primary and wrote again in August 2008 to request federal monitors for the general election.

    In late October 2008 after the Birmingham News reported that Conecuh, Greene, Lowndes, Perry, Washington and Wilcox counties had more people on the voting rolls than they had voting-age adults, Chapman asked for election observers in those counties.

    In July 2008, Chapman in a news release expressed alarm over the turnout in Perry County.

    “I will not say the numbers we are seeing from both elections in Perry County are not possible, but I will say that they are highly unlikely,” the statement said.

    Justice Department probe sought in Uniontown | TuscaloosaNews.com


    Congresswoman Sewell bringing home the PORK to Uniontown. JMO

    From the Congresswoman's Facebook.

    This morning Rep. Sewell hosted a press conference with Uniontown Mayor Jamaal Hunter, Perry County Commissioner Albert Turner and USDA Rural Development State Director Ronnie Davis to present the City of Uniontown with a $4.8 million award from USDA Rural Development to repair their existing waste water treatment facility and replace insufficient water meters.


    https://www.facebook.com/RepSewell
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    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    SPEAKER HUBBARD CITES VOTING STATISTICS IN UNIONTOWN, ALABAMA AS EVIDENCE FOR NEED OF PHOTO VOTER ID REQUIREMENT


    Montgomery – Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard on Thursday said a disturbing published report on voting trends, turnout and registration in rural Uniontown, Alabama offers clear evidence that Alabama’s recently passed photo Voter ID requirement should be approved by the U.S. Justice Department and put in practice for the 2014 statewide campaign cycle.


    A story appearing in Thursday’s editions of the Tuscaloosa News said that voter rolls for the city of Uniontown, located in rural Perry County, reflect 130 percent of the town’s population and turnout in Tuesday’s municipal elections exceeded 80 percent of the city’s total residents.


    “Either Uniontown’s citizens are the most civic-minded in the entire state or there are some serious shenanigans occurring in the election process there, but even civic-mindedness can’t explain why voter rolls top 130 percent of the population,” Hubbard said. “It is obvious that the voter rolls there are bloated with the names of dead, relocated or even fictitious residents, a fact that does not inspire confidence in honest and fair elections. Only a strong and strictly enforced photo voter ID requirement can return faith to what is obviously a flawed, broken and likely corrupt elections system.”


    Under current Alabama law, citizens may present one of 19 acceptable forms of identification in order to vote, but many of them, including utility bills, bank statements and pay stubs, do not contain photos and are easily stolen, borrowed or replicated.


    The Legislature last year approved a new, stricter standard requiring voters to present a photo ID in order to cast a non-challenged ballot. The law, which is slated to go into effect during the 2014 primary elections, provides free photo ID cards to citizens who do not already possess or cannot afford to purchase one.


    “The Obama Justice Department has already blocked photo voter ID requirements in states like Texas and South Carolina, and it is likely it will continue its hostile actions towards Alabama, as well,” Hubbard said. “By working diligently against this needed and valuable honest elections tool, Obama’s liberal cronies and extremist groups like the ACLU are turning a blind eye to ballot box stuffing and making the case that the only way their side can win is through cheating.”


    Hubbard added that he considers corruption in the polling process to be a serious offense that is being taken lightly by the federal agency charged with upholding the law.


    “To steal someone’s vote by casting a fraudulent one against it is literally taking away their birthright as an American,” Hubbard said. “As long as everyone plays by the same rules and is required to present the same ID, everyone can rest easy that their rights are being protected.”

    Alabama House GOP Caucus » SPEAKER HUBBARD CITES VOTING STATISTICS IN UNIONTOWN, ALABAMA AS EVIDENCE FOR NEED OF PHOTO VOTER ID REQUIREMENT
    Last edited by Newmexican; 09-01-2012 at 06:41 PM.
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