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Voter fraud group gears up

Sumter Record-Journal    04 February 2005

Voter fraud and abuse of absentee ballots are targets of the Democracy Defense League.

The League boasts 112 plus members so far and is headed up by Ronnie Crawford, Perry Beasley and Beverly Bonds of Greensboro.

Greensboro has recently been a focal point of voter fraud investigations and allegations.

In Greensboro, Vanessa Hill contested the September 14 election of Johnnie B. Washington as mayor. In that runoff election, Hill received 620 votes at the polls and 52 absentee votes. Washington received 511 votes at the polls and 251 absentees, to win 762 to 672.

Later, Hale County residents were concerned when they received absentee ballots marked with a return address private post office box. The concern was magnified by the fact that Gay Nell Tinker, the absentee ballot manager and Hale County Circuit Clerk, is also the wife of then-candidate for the Alabama Senate Bobby Singleton. Tinker?s brother, Marvin Wiggins, is also the circuit judge in Hale County.

In an effort to improve voting policies, the Democracy Defense League (DDL) held its first exploratory meeting last Thursday, Jan. 27. The group plans to meet again in Moundville, tentatively at the town hall. See Perry Beasley?s commentary this edition for contact information. The Democracy Defense League, according to Beasley, is a non-partisan organization dedicated to the elimination of voter fraud.

According to a Tuscaloosa News story, Beasley, a retired investigator with the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, [ABI] helped build a voter fraud case against former Greensboro City Councilman and police Officer Aaron Evans. He told members of the group they should expect a long fight. Evans spent about two years in prison after being convicted of 15 counts of voter fraud in 1998.

Beasley said he hopes the group can convince the Alabama Legislature to provide stronger laws against voter fraud, more support for law enforcement to pursue voter fraud arrests, more satisfaction for prosecutors who pursue voter fraud convictions and more support for the office of the Attorney General to investigate voter fraud complaints.

The DDL, in fact, plans to travel to Montgomery to meet with Alabama Attorney General Troy King. Beasley said the primary purpose of the visit is to learn what ordinary residents can do to fight voter fraud while supporting state and local efforts to do the same.

Attorney General Troy King said he plans to meet with the Democracy Defense League sometime within the next two weeks.

Regarding Sumter County allegations, King did not respond with an investigation to allegations of a mishandled election in Gainesville.

Former mayor Tom Long ran against incumbent mayor Carrie Fulghum in the August 24, 2004 municipal elections.

Long kept a list of violations. The most egregious offenses included a council member, Margaret Burrell, and a city employee, Ray Winston, acting as election officials. According to the Code of Alabama (Section 11-46-27), ?No officer or employee of the municipality shall be eligible to serve as an election official. No kindred of any candidate or of his or her spouse to the second degree, according to civil law, shall be eligible to serve as an election official.?

Long?s pollwatcher noted specific violations of election laws. The pollwatcher noted several non-residents who successfully voted. The pollwatcher included a line in her notes that reads, ?Wallace Hall... [Mayor] Carrie [Fulghum] took the ballot to their house. She also witnessed [the signature].?

Long, who lost by 50 percent, was disappointed when King seemed to ignore his complaint.

Beasley said some improvements are currently underway in voter registration. For one, voter registration records will be connected to vital records. Thus, when a voter dies, his name will be immediately removed from the voter registration list. ?This will help immensely in preventing dead people from voting,? Beasley said.

Sumter residents can play their own part in preventing some voter fraud by paying attention to their mailboxes.

The Alabama Secretary of State is mailing out cards to all voters in 67 counties.

According to a story in the Tuscaloosa News, the cards are being mailed as part of the effort to the statewide voter registration system, which must be done every four years. The card instructs the recipient to choose one of three options: If the name and address are correct, do nothing. If the name or address has changed, call the county board of registrars. The telephone number will be on the card. If the recipient is not the person named on the card, he or she should mark it ?Return to Sender? and put it back in the mail. No postage will be necessary.

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