On the Road: Rainbow City

I started my Saturday morning in Rainbow City at the breakfast meeting of the Etowah County Republican Party at the Western Sizzlin.

I enjoyed meeting with fellow Republicans and sharing with them information about me and my candidacy for Secretary of State.

I especially enjoyed seeing current and former Etowah County election officials with whom I worked during my 24+ years in the Secretary of states office: Sam Johnson, circuit clerk and absentee election manager, and Sandra Lasseter & Harry Butler, former members of the board of registrars.

On the Road: Oneonta & Cullman

Tuesday, after I left Pell city, my travels took me to both Oneonta and Cullman, where I visited with friends and supporters of my campaign for Secretary of State.

I especially enjoyed visiting with county election officials with whom I worked during my 24+ years in the Secretary of State’s office. It was great to reminisce with them about the various elections and election issues that we worked on in the past.

While in Oneonta, I had the opportunity to meet and visit with Nathan Kirk, owner of Blount County Tactical. Mr. Kirk is not only a enthusiastic supporter of the Second Amendment, but he’s also a vigorous supporter of the First Amendment – as am I (on both counts).

On the Road: Valley

I had a great visit with Chambers County Republicans earlier tonight. I enjoyed sharing dinner with them, not to mention information about my candidacy for Secretary of State. I look forward to visiting with them again.

With O’Neal Shaw, Chair of the Chambers County Republican Party
With Lisa Burdette, Chambers County Circuit Clerk and Absentee Election Manager

On the Road: Birmingham

This weekend, I enjoyed attending and sponsoring a table at the Alabama Republican Party’s Winter Dinner at the Sheraton in Birmingham. I saw friends and colleagues and met many wonderful Alabama Republicans.

With Deborah Howard, My Campaign Administrator
With Deborah (St. Clair County) and Katelyn Howard (Etowah County)
With an Interested Republican
With J. D. Snoddy, Winston County Circuit Clerk, and His Wife
With an Interested Republican
With Greg Cook, Candidate for Associate Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court
With an Interested Republican
Outside the Sheraton

On the Road: Guntersville, Scottsboro, Fort Payne, Pell City

I wrapped up meeting with the Circuit Clerks in Guntersville early this morning. I always appreciate time spent with those colleagues and friends.

With Winston County Circuit Clerk J.D. Snoddy and his wife
With Circuit Clerks Jeannie Gibson (Crenshaw County) and Brad Curnutt (Limestone County)
With Circuit Clerks Lisa Burdette (l, Chambers County) and Valerie Knapp (r, Washington County)

I met with Michael Johnson (Revenue Commissioner), Don Milligan (chair of the Board of Registrars) and Judge Andrea LeCroy (Probate Judge), all of Marshall County.

From there, I travelled to Scottsboro to meet with various elected officials in Jackson County – including Probate Judge Victor Manning and Circuit Clerk Bart Buchanan – and their staff.

In Jackson County, with Victor Manning (l, Probate Judge) and Bart Buchanan (r, Circuit Clerk)

Afterward, I made my way to Fort Payne, where I met various DeKalb County elected officials and their staff.

I ended the night in Pell City with the St. Clair County Young Republicans at the Pell City Steak House.

With Wally Bromberg (r) and Ken Crowe (m, St. Clair County Revenue Commissioner)
With Logan Glass (l, chair of the St. Clair County Young Republicans) and Ashley Hilburn
With Wally Bromberg (l) and Ken Crowe (m, St. Clair County Revenue Commissioner)

On the Road: Guntersville

Sunrise over Guntersville

It’s a pleasure to wake up in Guntersville State Park, as these two can attest!

Good morning!

I drove up to Guntersville yesterday afternoon to spend some time with the Circuit Clerks at their winter conference. It was good hanging out with long-time friends and colleagues last night.

I have worked with Circuit Clerks – and other absentee election managers who are not Circuit Clerks – for many years, training them on absentee voting laws and procedures and providing them assistance with absentee voting issues that arise during an election.

Although I appreciate all voters who may need to vote by absentee ballot, I’m particularly proud of the work that Circuit Clerks do to ensure that Alabamians who live overseas as part of their military service or other life and career choices are able vote by absentee.

I am glad that, in my 24+ years with the Secretary of State’s office, I could assist the Circuit Clerks and other absentee election managers in serving not only these voters but all absentee voters.

Great Day! Talladega, St. Clair and Jackson Counties!

Tuesday (1/18/2022) was a great day, filled with visits with great Republicans in Talladega, St. Clair, and Jackson Counties. My message and agenda items are resonating with people and they (the people) have been showing a lot of support for my candidacy.

The day started with my traveling to Talladega County to drop off campaign materials with the county Republican Party and a passionate supporter.

In St. Clair County, my long-time friend and elections administration colleague, Deborah Howard, continues to assist me. I’m very appreciative of her efforts. If you need help with any election-related issues in St. Clair County, she can help you!

Deborah Howard and Me

I provided Deborah campaign materials as well and then met various people at both the Pell City and Ashville courthouses. I thank Ken Crowe, county Revenue Commissioner, and Deborah for showing me around.

I met with members of the Jackson County Republican Party at Cattle Stampede Steakhouse in Scottsboro. I enjoyed talking to them one-on-one and then speaking to the group as a whole, especially when answering their questions about Alabama election law and procedures.

I appreciate that my cousin, Pamela Norton of Ider, joined me at the meeting. (Yes, I’m aware that Ider is in DeKalb County! But she lives near and works in Scottsboro and has shown tremendous support for my campaign!)

Pamela Norton, my cousin and supporter from Ider

At the Jackson County meeting, I was able to spend time and catch up with a couple of the county’s election officials, with whom I’ve worked for years: Bart Buchanan, Circuit Clerk and Absentee Election Manager; and Kathy Thompson, a member of the Board of Registrars. Since I have usually interacted with county election officials over the phone, it’s great when I can see them in-person!

Bart Buchanan and Me
Kathy Thompson and Me

I’m looking forward to upcoming visits in many other of Alabama’s great counties.

Election Integrity

I was asked in a round about way my position on how we Alabamians can ensure our elections have integrity.

My recommendation for ensuring election integrity is that the Legislature should mandate post-election procedural audits so that the public knows that election administrators have conducted their election according to state and federal laws and regulations.

I have long said during my near-25-year career in the Secretary of State’s office that our elections can have integrity only if the election administrators faithfully comply with the laws and regulations that govern our elections.

If members of the public believe that election officials themselves are doing the wrong thing, even if unintentionally, those people will lose faith in elections.

In calling for these procedural audits, I’m in no way alleging that Alabama’s election administrators have performed in any way other than professionally and honorably. My experience over many years with probate judges, absentee election managers (who are predominantly circuit clerks), sheriffs, members of the boards of registrars, and city and town clerks, is that they perform their duties with integrity and are committed to serving their voters well.

However, it is not necessarily enough to speak of professionalism, honor, integrity, and commitment. Some Alabamians seem to have a kinship with Missourians, who, a long time ago, adopted as their state motto “Show Me”!

From what I have seen, the election administrators I have worked with for over 24 years have always stood ready to show their constituents what they do. They take their responsibilities as election officials seriously and perform their duties with pride.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Alabama is one of six states that do not require any kind of post-election audit. Our legislature should remedy that situation.

In 2021, to its credit, the Alabama Legislature did pass legislation to require a pilot program for a post-election audit in the 2022 general election. That pilot will involve three counties. We, including members of the Legislature, can and should learn from this pilot program.

Election administrators are not the only people, though, that can help us have faith and confidence in our elections. All of us, as voters in our Great State of Alabama, have a role in ensuring election integrity.

While we may not all be official poll watchers representing a candidate or a political party, we all see what happens at our polling place. If you see something that raises your eyebrow (especially if it raises both eyebrows!), never hesitate to talk to your probate judge (in county-run elections), your city or town clerk (in municipal elections), or the Secretary of State or Attorney General about it.

Whoever you contact can assess whether what you saw was consistent with election laws and regulations. If what you saw is consistent with election laws and regulations, perhaps they can set your mind at ease. But, if what you saw is not consistent with election laws and regulations, they can advise you of what additional steps, if any, are needed to begin an investigation.

As law enforcement often advises the public, if you see something, say something. And do so promptly, especially on Election Day, so that the situation can be addressed as quickly as possible.