HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The 2014 Legislative session begins next week, and lawmakers and activists are already gearing up for what could be an eventful year.
One man is hoping to see changes in Alabama’s voting registration laws, after an incident in 2012 left him unable to cast his vote for the candidates he felt most passionately about.
“I showed up to the precinct my name wasn’t on the voter rolls,” said Trey Edwards, who had registered to vote at a UNA voter drive. “I went down to the registrars’ office and apparently this person had a history of only turning in the forms of people she thought would vote a certain way.”
Edwards tried to file a complaint with the Lauderdale County Board of Registrar’s Office, but there he learned there was nothing illegal about what the woman had done.
For the past year Edwards has been working with lawmakers to draft legislation that would ensure voter drive registration forms are required to get turned in.
The bill has been drafted, and will be sponsored by Representative John Merrill.
The legislation would make it a Class C Misdemeanor to fail to turn in filled out registration forms from a voter drive. If convicted, the person would not be able to host another drive for a year.
WHNT News 19 sat down with Chair of the Madison County Board of Registrars, Lynda Hairston, who confirmed, just about anyone can host a voter drive.
“If you want to do a voter drive you can get forms from the Secretary of States office and they will mail them to you,” said Hairston.
She says as long as shes been in office, there have never been regulations or qualifications for voter drives.
“It’s my understanding that anyone who wants to conduct a voter drive can do that.”
Hairston says if someone came to her with a complaint about a missing registration form, there would be nothing she could do. Especially since there’s often no way to prove that person actually registered to vote.
She says those complaints rarely even make it back to her office.
“I’m just hoping everything gets to me, but I can’t be assured of that,” said Hairston.
Edwards has only recently finished drafting the bill, and is currently searching for a Senate sponsor.