As you well know, this voting season will likely be far different from those of the past. With COVID-19 still very much a concern, many will be utilizing absentee or mail-in ballots to cast their vote for the November 3 general election.
This, in and of itself, has posed multiple problems already, from mail delivery mishaps to faulty printings and much more. But it seems that these issues aren’t enough for some people. Apparently, they want more problems.
Or at least that seems to be the case with US District Judge Abdul K. Kallon of Alabama.
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Kallon, as a judge appointed by former President Barack Obama and like most Democrats, seems far too concerned with the chance of contracting COVID than the known possibility of voter fraud.
And so he made an order that, while meant to keep older and more at-risk populations safe from possible infection, opened wide the doors to voter fraud within the state.
You see, in the state of Alabama, if you choose to vote via absentee or mail-in ballot, you are required to include an affidavit that is signed by a notary or two witnesses, as well as submit a copy of your photo ID with the application.
Kallon, however, thought that getting these identity requirements for those 65 or older or who have medical conditions that may prevent them from going out in public much would essentially be giving them an “impossible choice” between voting and their health.
He wrote in his 197-page opinion on the matter, “As applied during COVID-19 pandemic, the Challenged Provisions unduly burden the fundamental Constitutional rights of Alabama’s most vulnerable voters and violates federal laws designed to protect America’s most marginalized citizens.”
In addition, Kallon also banned the use of “curbside voting,” which allows voters who may not be able to physically enter a polling center to still vote in person, kind of like a drive-thru.
Apparently, filling out your ballot in your own car and dropping in a box or giving it to an attending poll worker is too dangerous as well. It is noted that this option isn’t widely used in most areas, and in fact, Secretary of State John Merrill currently knows of no counties within the state who plan on using it.
However, this week, Alabama’s 11th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay of the Kallon’s order, allowing curbside voting to be used should county officials wish to do so and keep both witnesses’ requirements or a notary signature as well as a photo ID.
Secretary of State Merrill said of the stay that it is a “win for the people of Alabama.” And he added, “The photo ID and witness requirements are necessary deterrents for those looking to commit voter fraud, and I’m glad the 11th Circuit Court has recognized their importance in safeguarding the elections process.”
Among other things, the state’s ruling noted that the plaintiff or those defending Kallon’s order had a “lack of imagination” regarding the many ways the requirements could be fulfilled without endangering anyone’s life.
State lawyers wrote, “Neither Plaintiffs nor the court quantified this risk or explained why it was unavoidable. Nor could they, because no voter need put her life on the line when she can, for example, simply meet two masked neighbors outside for a few moments while they watch each other sign an absentee ballot.”
A lack of imagination, indeed.
However, as I mentioned, this is just a stay, meaning that it is not an official ruling and could later change. A stay basically just puts everything on hold until a final decision can be made, making Judge Kallon’s order rather meaningless until that time.
And with a minimal number of days until the actual election, it is looking more and more unlikely that his order will be agreed upon, much less enforced before November 3.
Not that it had much of a chance at success anyway. After all, his reasoning for such an order was the COVID-19 pandemic, and with new discoveries being made every day, it won’t be long before even that is moot.