Dead men don’t vote

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Alabama State Auditor Beth Chapman, who is also a candidate for Secretary of State, was the guest speaker for the Democracy Defense League in Greensboro Tuesday night with a simple message for the group. “If you are dead, you cannot vote.”

This was one of Chapman’s opening statements as she discussed her issues and the problems facing Hale County voters.

One of the major issues, Chapman said, was the fact that current laws do not force people to take responsibility for stealing votes. Regardless of the law, Chapman said, people should take responsibility for their actions.

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“Accountability is not just a word, it is an ethic and a moral,” Chapman said. “We are accountable for our actions and as adults we are accountable for our actions.”

DDL co-chairman Perry Beasely said most people do not realize that a stolen vote in Hale County goes much further than its point of origin.

“Voter fraud is a serious problem in our area and that is why we are here tonight,” Beasely said. “Whether people know it or not, when they steal votes from here, they are taking votes from Jacksonville, Huntsville and everywhere in Alabama.”

Their plan, Beasely said, was to have voter fraud taken seriously and dealt with seriously.

“We are here to promote serious and realistic legislation to make voter fraud harder to commit,” Beasely said. “We also want to make it easier to prosecute and enhance the penalties, because we don’t have any of that right now.”

Chapman agreed, saying she would like to see the punishment fit the crime where voter fraud was concerned.

“What I want to see happen in Alabama, is if you steal a vote, you are punished just as harsh as if you steal my money or my car,” Chapman said. “I can get my car back through insurance, or it can be recovered by the police. But, if a vote is stolen, it is gone forever.”

Absentee ballots Chapman said, seem to have lost their purpose in Alabama. While they were being abused in some areas, there were other Alabamians overseas who need absentee ballots and can’t get them.

“The price of a vote has gone up,” Chapman said. “There are people that died as recently as today probably somewhere because of this war and we can’t disenfranchise those people to vote in elections.”

In the most recent election, Chapman said, the number of soldiers who missed the opportunity to vote was alarming.

“They said 80 percent of our military people tried to vote in the last election,” Chapman said. “Eighty percent might have tried, but 100 percent have the right and we can’t take that away from them.”

Chapman closed praising the DDL and the effort they’ve put forth to bring fair elections to Hale County.

“I want you to know that as an organization, I appreciate you,” Chapman said. “You can’t endorse me and I understand that, but we have got to find a common bond here.”