Proposal To End Newspaper Requirement For Voter Lists

HUNTSVILLE, Ala.(WHNT) – State legislators are reviewing a bill that would end a long-standing law that requires county governments to publish their voter registration rolls in local newspapers.

County commissioners across Alabama say the current law is not only outdated due to a massive shift away from newspaper readership, but also a waste of taxpayer money.

Rep. Howard Sanderford (R-Huntsville) is sponsoring HB 71, which would give county officials the option to publish those voter lists on their own county websites for free. Sanderford said the nearly century-old law has been a budget booster for newspapers, many of which oppose the legislation.

“It is very outdated law,” said Rep. Sanderford. “Taxpayer dollars, $1.4 million every election cycle in Alabama being spent on something that’s absolutely outdated and useless.”

HB 71 has already passed the House and now awaits a vote in the Senate. The legislation would still require county officials to post a half-page newspaper ad directing readers to where they can find their county’s voter registration list.

The Alabama Press Association said it is staying neutral on the bill.  Officials in Madison County told WHNT News 19 they spent well over $50,000 on its newspaper list last election cycle, which included more than 220,000 names.

6 comments

  • Vernon Fowler

    These people making changes to these rules are basing their opinions on technology that does nor exists in many areas. I live in a rural area and can no longer get TV signals because the digital signals don’t carry as far as the old analog signals. I don’t have access to wireless broadband, DSL, cable tv or cable broadband. I have Sat tv but I’m forced to accept the Nashville channels for locals, It does not help at all in severe weather, I live within 30 miles of Huntsville though. I have sat internet but with the caps I can’t do much more than what I used to do with dialup. These folks need to make sure everyone is connected to the internet in a way that is usable before they make any more changes. I guess everyone just thinks that everyone is connected.

    • John

      You sir are few and far between,,, shy do you thing the postal service has a billion dollar net loss? Newspaper delivery is near extinct, paper books are going digital…. the list is endless. This is 2014… if you dont get with the times, you will be left behind (it seems you already are).

      • Vernon Fowler

        I don’t think you understand. I’m one of millions of people in the US that don’t have a choice. I do not have access to any of the services that are available in areas with higher populations. People in those areas think that everyone have the same thing that they have. While funds keep being spent by telecom companies to provide greater access to these population centers with the help of government funds the people in the rural areas are left out. Go to the Government WEB site, search on US Broadband Map, and just look at how many areas in the US lack Broadband coverage. As the requirement for internet activity is increased things once done through phone conversations and mail can no longer be done that way.

  • Benny

    Why do I want to see a list of the registration in the paper? If anyone is that interested they need to go to the Courthouse to see it!

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