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Alabama GOP struggles to find voter fraud despite $1,000 reward

The Alabama GOP offered a reward for information on voter fraud. So what did they come up with? So far, not too much.
JayDanny Cooper urges Alabama residents to vote in the primary along the side of a highway March 13, 2012 in Birmingham, Ala. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty)
JayDanny Cooper urges Alabama residents to vote in the primary along the side of a highway March 13, 2012 in Birmingham, Ala.

Last week’s primaries were the first election in which Alabama’s voter ID law was in effect. To mark the occasion, the state GOP offered a $1,000 reward to anyone with information that led to convictions on voter fraud.

So what did the party come up with? Based on what they’ve said so far, not too much.

In a post on its website, the Alabama Republican Party wrote that the following were "just a few of" the violations reported to the special hotline the party set up and publicized at polling sites across the state: 

  • Voters receiving Democrat primary ballots in the mail without request.
  • Voter intimidation with high school students who were asked to register to vote absentee yet were only given the option to vote Democrat.
  • A candidate frequently “assisting” voters in filling out their ballot.
  • A mother proudly escorted her daughter to the poll for the first time only to find out her daughter was listed as an absentee voter. An absentee ballot was never requested or received. When the mother protested to the Probate Judge she was told that casting a provisional ballot was a waste of time and would not be counted anyway.

Zach Bowman, a party official who helped look into the allegations, said a lawyer for the GOP, Colin Luke, is currently looking over the information to see whether law enforcement should be brought in. Luke didn't respond to a request for comment. 

But none of the four irregularities above appear to come anywhere near organized voter fraud. More important, there’s not a single instance listed of the kind of illegal voting that might have been stopped by voter ID.

Of course, the state party has said that’s not a comprehensive list, so no final conclusions can be drawn. But so far, it doesn’t sound like there’s any more voter fraud in Alabama than there is in Texas, North Carolina, or anywhere else that's imposed voter ID. 

The voter ID law did have an impact, though: Just ask 93-year-old Willie Mims, who was turned away from his polling place for not having a driver’s license.

We'll follow up with the state party as their investigation continues.