The people's voice of reason

Republican leaders praise State Senate for Passage of SB1 – the ballot harvesting bill

On Monday the Alabama Senate passed Senate Bill 1 (SB1) which makes it illegal for anyone to get paid to go out and assist voters to collect absentee ballots. Republicans have made banning "ballot harvesting" a key legislative goal for the 2024 session. Republican leaders expressed their gratitude to the legislature for voting to pass SB1 – despite Democratic opposition in the Senate.

Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth released a statement applauding passage of SB1.

"As a freshman member of the Alabama House, the first bill I passed was an election integrity measure, so I understand the importance of legislation combatting ballot harvesting being approved by the Alabama Senate," said Ainsworth. "Voters must have confidence that their votes are secure and counted fairly."

"Alabama has a long history of voter fraud and the vast majority of those indictments and convictions have involved absentee ballots," Ainsworth continued. "Allowing partisan groups and individuals to collect, handle, and potentially tamper with vast numbers of absentee ballots breeds fraud and abuse. With passage of this bill Alabamians can rest assured that an absentee ballot honestly cast will be honestly counted."

Alabama Republican Party Chairman John Wahl praised State Senator Garlan Gudger (R-Cullman), who sponsored the legislation, and the Alabama State Senate for passing SB1,

"I would like to thank Senator Garlan Gudger, who sponsored SB1, as well as the entire State Senate, for passing this important legislation," Wahl said. "This bill is about making sure every single person's vote is secure and safeguarded. We believe that the election process should stand for honesty and integrity, and no one's vote should ever be stolen or usurped by illegal ballot harvesting. SB1 is a commonsense bill that simply reinforces penalties if someone is paid to collect or tamper with ballots. This measure should be supported by everyone, and we are excited to see this bill move forward."

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) endorsed the ban on ballot harvesting in her state of the state address.

"Even while we may vote differently, we all agree in protecting the integrity of our elections in Alabama," Gov. Ivey said. "That is why I am proud to support legislation that prohibits ballot harvesting in our state. We would put a stop to any manipulation of our elections by closing loopholes that allow unaccountable, paid political operatives to pressure folks through the absentee voting process. This year, we have a new bill to outlaw ballot harvesting that also protects folks who truly need assistance in having their voices be heard."

SB1 passed the Senate by a vote of 27 to 8.

"We are protecting Alabama voters from bad actors with rules that make it easy to vote and hard to cheat," Senator Gudger said.

Senator Greg Reed (R-Jasper) is the President Pro Tempore of the Alabama Senate.

"Voting is a right that is foundational to our democracy, and we need to make sure that legitimate votes are not being diluted by fraudulent votes," Sen. Reed said in a statement. "We want Alabama's election laws to be the strongest in the country."

The bill now goes to the Alabama House of Representatives for their consideration. In 2023 the House of Representatives passed similar legislation; but ran into significant opposition in the Senate. Gudger has addressed many of those concerns in the version of SB1 that passed out of committee in the Senate.

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