The Justice Department was concerned that the number checked was far higher than normal. In a letter to the Justice Department on Friday, Chapman said there has been a large number of voter registrations, and that a technical step in the verification process may have been a factor.
But she said an invalid Social Security or driver's license number "does not and has not ever prevented a voter from registering in the state of Alabama."
In some states, voters are automatically disqualified if the numbers don't match. But Chapman and Riley's spokesman said that in Alabama, discrepancies are reported to county voter registrars to review.
"We assume registrars went back and verified new and existing voters because it's their job to make sure their lists are accurate," Riley spokeswoman Tara Hutchison said.
Well, let's just hope that those country registrars offices are doing their jobs, right? Being that nearly 3 million people are registered in Alabama, we'd hope that all the legitimate voters are able to vote. Some of that surge in voter registration is coming from counties in which there are more registered voters than census numbers would suggest is possible. County officials suggest the census estimates are simply wrong. There's really no evidence that anything fishy is going on, but it does raise some questions.
I had planned on doing a rundown of local races, but over at Doc's Political Parlor they've got that nailed down. First up, there's a list of Federal Election Commission filings for Alabama politicians that is great for research. There's ads from the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) in the second district, where Democrat Bobby Bright is running against Republican Jay Love, and the Democrats are running an ad against Love as well. Freedom's Watch, a Republican-affiliated independent group is also running an ad against Bright. Love's primary opponent has crossed party lines to endorse Bright, according to Doc's. In the fifth district, allegations that Democrat Parker Griffith said something about materialism that some people find unsettling don't yet appear to be hurting him in his race against Wayne Parker, and Parker is now running an ad in Huntsville about Griffith.
With the help of an AP article by the aforementioned Phillip Rawls, Doc's looks into the ties that Alabama Supreme Court candidates Deborah Bell Passeur and Greg Shaw have to oil companies. In another post, Danny at Doc's links to this Fortune magazine article on JeffCo's sewer debt, which used Birmingham Weekly columnist Kyle Whitmire as a source.
Danny also posted an interesting poll of opinions on the potential 2010 Alabama Governor's race, which puts Congressman Artur Davis on top.
Birmingham City Councilors are considering voting themselves a $30,000 pay raise, according to the Birmingham News. Over at Thomason Tracts, Thomason asks the right question: "Are these people crazy?":
So, at the beginning of what everyone thinks is going to be a deep, dark recession, while the mayor is going around spending money like it'92s going out of style, they'92re going to give themselves a raise that more than doubles their current salaries.
Sure, the Council's done a decent job of controlling some of Langford's rampant spending proposals in recent months, and being a City Councilor is a tough job (lots of research if you're trying to be a good councilor), but $30,000 seems a bit much... (Update: the $30,000 figure is based on a $20,000 raise for councilors, and $10,000 for council assistants)
Interested in making your thoughts about Birmingham's schools known to all? There's a town hall meeting on Tuesday at 6pm you should attend.
Death row inmate Tommy Arthur, a man who may well be innocent and has almost been to the chair like, a half dozen times, is getting a hearing on February 17. If you want to know more about Alabama's problems with giving innocent people in prison a fair shake, may I suggest you read this article (here's an excerpt):
The reality is that the state of Alabama is one of only seven states that lack a procedure for post-conviction DNA testing. This means that if someone who'92s been convicted of a crime claims innocence, he has no guaranteed right in Alabama to have the DNA testing done that might prove his claim.
And Alabama Moderate did an interview with Montgomery Advertiser you should check out.