Birmingham, AL – U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) called on Governor Kay Ivey today to expand the state Medicaid program. With mandatory closures due to shelter in place orders in many of Alabama’s cities to prevent the spread of COVID-19, many businesses have been forced to lay off or furlough workers, jeopardizing their employer-based health coverage. Nearly 94,000 Alabamians have filed for unemployment benefits in the last three weeks, according to the Alabama Department of Labor. “Ultimately, the crisis before us is a matter of public health. Fighting and beating this virus depends on Alabamians’ ability to receive the testing and care they need,” Sewell said. “Uninsured Alabamians – many of whom have lost their jobs and health coverage as a result of the COVID-19 crisis – should not be forced to choose between getting tested, treated and seeking care to protect themselves, their families and our communities from further spread of the virus and being faced with hundreds of dollars in medical bills.” “With President Trump’s refusal to re-open the Obamacare marketplace during these difficult times, it is more important than ever that Governor Ivey and the Alabama State Legislature act swiftly to expand Medicaid,” Sewell continued. “Not only would expansion provide affordable health care to more than 340,000 Alabamians, it would also serve as an economic boon, adding about $1.7 billion a year to our economy. All Alabamians stand to benefit from Medicaid expansion and, especially, the most vulnerable in our communities.” The Kaiser foundation projects the cost of inpatient admissions for COVID-19 treatment could exceed $20,000. This is an extraordinary financial constraint that could prevent Alabamians from seeking testing or treatment, potentially furthering the spread of the virus. After commending Gov. Ivey for instating a “Stay at Home Order”, senator Doug Jones stated, “I also continue to emphasize Alabama must take all steps necessary to expand Medicaid immediately so we can provide health coverage for an additional 326,000 Alabamians. This crisis has shown us that we’re all in this together, but it has also shown us that too many people can fall through the cracks of our health care system. I have been advocating for this for years, but now more than ever I hope folks understand the need to expand the program and help the most vulnerable in our community. It’s simply the right thing to do—for our health and for our economy—and I hope our state leaders can set aside whatever politics has blocked this in the past to get this done now.” Sewell and U.S. Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) worked to include in the CARES Act, Congress’ third coronavirus response package, legislation they have introduced to ensure that all states that expand Medicaid coverage under the terms of the Affordable Care Act receive an equal federal match for expansion, regardless of when a state chooses to expand Medicaid coverage. While their efforts were scuttled by Senate Republicans, they remain committed and are actively working with Democratic leadership to push to have it included in any future coronavirus response legislative packages.
In 2018, with the midterm elections approaching, Alfonzo Tucker, Jr., was particularly eager to vote. The mayor of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Tucker’s hometown, was running for governor, and the year before he had canvassed for Doug Jones, a Democrat running in a closely watched US Senate race.
But Tucker wasn’t able to cast a ballot – state officials refused to even let him register. It wasn’t until weeks later that he learned why he had been deprived of the right to vote. He owed the state $4.
The US is founded on the promise of democracy and fair representation, but it is also the country where minorities are frequently disenfranchised for political gain. Among the most vulnerable are millions of Americans, disproportionately African Americans, like Tucker, who have been entangled in America’s racially biased criminal justice system, and losing civil liberties like voting as a result.
The barriers facing Americans like Tucker, advocates say, are modern adaptations of poll taxes and other devices which were designed to keep people from the voting booths during the Jim Crow era – when white politicians used the law to curb the civil rights of African Americans. Alabama is one of 30 states that requires people with felony convictions to pay back the financial obligations associated with their sentence before they can vote again.
Tucker’s case is particularly glaring. He lives less than a hundred miles north-west of Selma, the birthplace of the voting rights movement in America. This week, civil rights leaders are commemorating the 55th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery marches led by Martin Luther King Jr and civil rights activists as they protested against laws preventing Afr ican Americans from voting. Many were brutally beaten in Selma during the protests.
The specific policy that had ensnared Tucker dates back to the turn of the 20th century when Alabama leaders, openly seeking to preserve white supremacy, stripped anyone convicted of a crime of “moral turpitude”, among other offenses, of the right to vote.
“What is it that we want to do? Why, it is within the limits imposed by the federal constitution, to establish white supremacy in this state,” John Knox, the chair of the convention, said at the time. “If we would have white supremacy, we must establish it by law – not by force or fraud,” he added.
Tucker said the legacy of that discrimination affects the lives of people like him today.
Sitting in his living room, surrounded by pictures of family, Tucker said things are much different now for him than they were in the early 1990s, when he was much more “aggressive”. In the late 1980s, he got into a fight at a club with a University of Alabama football player and wound up being convicted of third-degree assault, a misdemeanor. A few years later, he fought with a police officer and was convicted of second-degree assault, a felony. He wound up going to prison for two years and serving several more on probation.
After he got out of prison, Tucker rebuilt his life, working at steel factories and in maintenance, and chipping away at the approximately $1,600 that the court had ordered him to pay. He had two more children, which made him want to stay out of trouble. He joined the Nation of Islam.
Before his conviction, Tucker had never voted. But in prison, Tucker had read about Medgar Evers, who fought for equal citizenship and was assassinated in Mississippi in 1963. When he got out, he started regularly voting in elections. He and his wife Narkita would bring his young children into the voting booth with them, wanting to teach them about the importance of a single vote, and the long struggle African Americans had faced to gain access to the ballot.
But in 2013, Tucker got a letter from his state officials saying he could no longer vote.
He was angry and upset, but didn’t act immediately – the letter didn’t tell him anything about how to get his voting rights back. Then came another letter, a few years later, this time addressed to his son, Alfonzo Tucker III, who had just turned 18, and claiming that he too was ineligible to vote. The younger Tucker, however, didn’t have a criminal record. It was a mistake, possibly because he shared his father’s name.
Tucker got his son registered to vote, but the episode lit a fire in him. As the 2018 midterm elections approached, he went to an event where activists were helping people with felony convictions learn about their voting rights, and called up the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles to talk about his case. Two weeks later, the board sent him a letter saying he still owed $135.10 in connection with his conviction.
Tucker, who relies in part on disability income, borrowed money from his sister to pay off the debt. But just when he thought it was settled, a courthouse clerk told him he owed money for another decades-old criminal offense – an additional $5,535.47 which she said he had to pay back to gain back his vote.
Faced with the staggering amount, Tucker contacted Blair Bowie, an attorney at Campaign Legal Center, a Washington DC voting rights group. It took Bowie 15 minutes to realize Alabama officials made a huge mistake.
Under Alabama law, people with felonies only have to pay off the money originally assessed as part of their criminal conviction to regain their voting rights. By 2018, Tucker had paid back most of what he owed. But, unbeknown to him, the state had added an additional debt of $131.10, a fee that was irrelevant to whether he could vote because it was not part of his original conviction. And the $5,535.47 debt was from a misdemeanor offense, Bowie saw, which does not cause someone to lose their voting rights in Alabama.
All that Tucker actually owed in order to vote was $4.
“What is voter suppression if not officials wrongly telling you that you can’t vote?” Bowie said. “That’s been a classic way of disenfranchising people, particularly in Alabama.” After he paid the $135.10, Tucker drove two hours to Montgomery, the state capitol, with a friend to hand-deliver the receipt to a staffer at the Board of Pardons and Paroles.
But weeks later he had not heard anything back. The elections came and went, and Tucker couldn’t vote. The parole board declined to comment on Tucker’s case.
Bowie eventually referred Tucker to John Paul Taylor, an organizer with the Southern Poverty Law Center, who followed up with the board and got Tucker registered to vote in 2019. Bowie and Taylor said Tucker shouldn’t have had to rely on experts to get his voting rights back.
“Here’s a very clear example of a person who has jumped through every single hoop that you’ve given them and they’re still being denied because of something that they really don’t even know about,” Taylor said.
Meanwhile, Tucker and Bill Foster, the friend he went to Montgomery with, helped start a group in Tuscaloosa to assist people with felonies get their voting rights back. Tucker’s story helps people understand that they can in fact vote once they complete their sentence, said Larry Tucker, his cousin. And Alfonzo said he’s met other people who have wrongly been told they owe the state money.
So far, Tucker estimates that they’ve been able to help about 10 people – people like Terrance Gray, 49, who learned he was eligible to vote last year. Gray believed he had been ineligible to vote since he was released from prison in 1996.
“He told me that it will make a difference if more people go and vote,” Gray said of Tucker. “He’s always been on me about that.”
Tucker plans to cast his first ballot since the ordeal this year (he says he likes Bernie Sanders). He thinks the state should give him back the extra $131.10 that he paid.
Persons in Greene County who need help in restoring their voting rights should contact the Alabama New South Coalition at the Democrat newspaper office, 205-372-3373.
The Alabama New South Coalition will be holding its Fall Convention on Saturday, September 22, 2018 at the Maggie Street Center in Montgomery, Alabama. The theme of the convention is “Lift every vote; Make our voices sing!” “Our goal is to increase Black voter registration, education, organization and enthusiasm leading up to the November 6 General Election. We want to see a statewide turnout that exceeds the turnout in last December’s Special Election for Doug Jones to elect progressive candidates around the state,” said John Zippert, President of ANSC. “We are encouraging all Alabama residents who will turn 18 before the November election to register to vote by October 22, 2018 which is the deadline – 15 days before the election. We are especially interested in helping the thousands of Alabama residents, who previously were incarcerated for a crime, unless it involves ‘moral turpitude’ to restore their voting rights before the October deadline,” said Shelley Fearson, ANSC Staff Secretary.
Alabama passed a law in 2017, which lists 43 categories of crimes that involve moral turpitude, so it is easier to determine if a previously incarcerated person can get their voting rights restored said Fearson. “ If you need help in registering or restoring your rights contact our ANSC State Office in Montgomery, Alabama at 334-262- 0933,” stated Ferason. “We will have workshops at our Fall Convention to discuss all aspects of the voting process and encouraging more people to participate in grassroots canvasing and campaigning. Speakers include people who were elected to office and others who participated in last year’s ‘Vote-or-Die Campaign’ to gain insight into how best to increase turnout,” said Zippert. ANSC will recess its Fall Convention, to hold a candidate endorsement session by the Alabama New South Alliance (ANSA) its sister organization that endorses candidates. The ANSA will endorse candidates for statewide, Congressional and multi-district positions. Candidates for statewide office have been invited to attend this statewide screening. Statewide Democratic candidates like Walt Maddox for Governor, Will Boyd for Lieutenant Governor, Joe Siegelman for Attorney General, Heather Milam for Secretary of State, Miranda K. Joseph for State Auditor, Bob Vance Jr. for Alabama State Supreme Court Chief Justice and others will be present to seek endorsement for the November 6 General Election. “We must be awoke, excited and involved in this election. We need to canvass our neighborhoods and communities. We need to put the word out about this election on social media. We must talk to our relatives, friends and neighbors about the importance of turning out to vote in this critical election. Every vote counts and every vote should be cast in November,” said Faya Rose Toure, Selma activist and Vote-or-Die campaign leader.
ANSC delegation members who met with Senator Doug Jones are left to right: Dr. Carol P. Zippert; John Zippert, ANSC State President; Gus Townes; Senator Doug Jones; Karen Jones; Attorney Everett Wess; Robert Avery; Attorney Faya Rose Toure; Attorney Sharon Wheeler; Senator Hank Sanders.
Special to the Democrat
By John Zippert, Co-Publisher
Doug Jones, Alabama’s newly elected Senator, met with a delegation of Alabama New South Coalition members on Saturday, January 6, 2018, in Birmingham. All of ANSC delegation members played an active role in the ‘Vote or Die Campaign’ to register, educate, mobilize and turnout voters in the December 12, 2017 Special Election, in which Jones defeated Judge Roy Moore.
Jones was coming off his first week in Washington D. C. where he was sworn-in to his new position. Jones was accompanied to the swearing-in ceremony by former Vice President, Joe Biden. Jones was sworn-in along side Tina Smith, a new Senator from Minnesota, who will fill the un-expired term of Senator Al Franken who resigned. Smith was accompanied to the swearing-in by former Vice President Walter Mondale, from Minnesota.
Jones thanked the ANSC and the Vote or Die Campaign for their support and help in winning a closely fought contest with Judge Roy Moore. He said he appreciated “the early and continuing efforts of ANSC, ANSA and Vote or Die from the beginning of the race, starting at the first primary and continuing all the way through.”
Members of the ANSC delegation expressed congratulations and support to Senator Jones and indicated that they realized that “ a movement orientation was needed not just an ordinary political campaign, to create the excitement and interest, to generate the kind of turnout that was required to win this election.”
Jones said that he would work to represent all of the people of Alabama and he was looking for priority issues to work on that would unite voters – Black and white, urban and rural – in the state.
Jones said he was definitely going to push for reauthorization of CHIP – Children’s Health Insurance Program, which serves 150,000 children in Alabama and 9 million nationwide.
Another priority was working to keep rural hospitals open, which would help places in north Alabama, as well as the Alabama Black Belt, from losing their hospital and having to travel long distances for medical services. Jones said he would work with Congresswomen Terri Sewell, who has proposed adjustments to raise the low reimbursement rates paid to rural hospitals under Medicare and Medicaid.
Jones said building, repairing and improving infrastructure, including more than roads and bridges, and extending to water and waste water systems, broadband communication services and other community facilities. He said that he was trying to get assigned on Senate committees that dealt with these issues.
Jones indicated that he does not support cuts to “entitlement programs” like Medicare, Medicaid and Food Stamps which help low income people to balance the budget.
On Monday, it was announced by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer that Senator Jones would serve on the: Housing, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), Banking, Homeland Security and Government Affairs (HSGAC) and Aging Committees.
Senator Jones assured the ANSC delegation that he would have an active and robust staff around the state to provide information and constituent services to people in Alabama. He was still staffing his offices and was still receiving resumes from persons interested in serving on his staff in the state and in Washington. As reported last week, he has chosen Dana Gresham, an African-American, to serve as Chief of Staff. Jones indicated that he might develop a mobile office to travel to rural and more remote communities to provide services to constituents that cannot easily travel to offices in larger cities.
Senator Jones said that he would continue to communicate on a regular basis with the delegation about the upcoming state elections in 2018 and his own re-election campaign in 2020. Jones said that he would participate in the upcoming Bridge Crossing Jubilee in Selma, the first weekend in March, and other activities related to supporting voting rights.
On Friday, December 15, 2017, Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell held a ‘Congress in Your Community’ meeting in the dining room of the Greene County Residential Care Center. About 40 people attended the meeting.
Congresswoman Sewell thanked the people for coming out to listen and participate in the meeting, which she brings annually to every county in her district to seek input and questions from people about the work of Congress and the Federal government.Sewell thanked the people of Greene County and other voters in the Seventh Congressional District for their overwhelming support of Doug Jones in the December 12th Special Election. “The Seventh District was the only congressional district that Doug Jones won but he won by such an overwhelming majority, due to Black voters, that he will become our next Senator,” said Sewell. “I look forward to working with him in Congress for the benefit of Greene County and other parts of Alabama.”
Sewell said that she was working in Congress to find ways to help rural hospitals survive by seeking higher Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates and finding other special programs to help rural hospitals in her district and in rural areas across the nation. Greene County Health System is one of several rural health care facilities in her district that is facing financial difficulties, including facilities in Wilcox and Sumter counties.
The Congresswoman, who sits on the House Ways and Means Committee, expressed concern that the “tax reform bill” wending its way through Congress favors the richest people and doesn’t do as much as it should to help poor and working people. “This tax bill takes away some tax provisions like the New Markets Tax Credit which helps economically distressed communities to rebuild.” Said Sewell.
Sewell recommended that voters visit her website to sign up for newsletters, Federal grant program advisories and other important information.
Doug Jones won a tightly contested special election yesterday for a U. S. Senate seat in Alabama, vacated by Jeff Sessions, when he became U. S. Attorney General.
Based on unofficial statewide returns, Doug Jones the Democratic candidate received 671,151 votes (49.9%), to 650.436 (48.4%) for Republican Roy Moore. 22,819 voters (1.7%) wrote in another choice.
In Greene County, Doug Jones led with 3,340 votes (87.6%) to 462 (12.1%) for Roy Moore and 9 write-in votes. Jones carried every precinct box in Greene County.
In neighboring Sumter County, Jones received 3.527 votes (81%) to 814 votes (18.7%) for Moore. In Macon County, Jones received 5,780 (88.1%) to 758 (11.8%) for Moore. Across the Alabama Black Belt, which has a predominantly Black population, Jones scored overwhelming wins, in many cases exceeding the 2012 turnout for Barack Obama.
Doug Jones won in all the major cities of Alabama, including Birmingham, Montgomery, Tuscaloosa, Mobile and Huntsville, with strong Black voter support. Moore’s vote in rural and suburban parts of Alabama did not meet expectations and in some cases Moore underperformed his own vote totals and percentages in 2014, when he ran for Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.
The election officials in each county will have 14 days to certify the official results, which includes counting military, provisional and other uncounted ballots. These officials will also have to certify that the write –in candidates, were qualified to hold the office of U. S. Senator, or these vote will be disqualified.
So votes for Mickey Mouse or someone residing in another state will not count, changing the percentages of the vote that each candidate received.
A mandatory recount of votes will be order only if Doug Jones margin of victory falls below one half of one percent (0.5%). Jones currently has a margin of 1.5%. If Moore wishes to pay for a recount, at his expense, he can request one, as soon as the results are officially certified.
National political observers view Doug Jones victory as an upset since Alabama was considered a deeply red Republican state that had not elected a Democratic U. S. Senator, in a quarter of a century, since 1992. Moore’s loss was attributed to his record of being dismissed from the Alabama Supreme Court twice for ethical violations, his opposition to gay and Muslim people, his theocratic view of political office and recent allegations of sexual misconduct with teenage girls, forty years ago.
Moore’s defeat was also a defeat for his major backers including Steve Bannon and President Donald Trump, who weighed in with a last minute rally in Pensacola, Florida and robocalls on election day. Trump, who like Moore, faces questions of sexual misconduct with many women and a difficult path forward on tax reform and other issues, faces dwindling support from his right wing conservative base.
Doug Jones campaign put together a coalition of Black voters, younger voters, college educated and women to overcome Moore’s assumed Republican voter majority in the state. Jones says, he wants to give fair representation to every zip code in the state and work together with Republicans on the “kitchen-table issues of healthcare, wages, education and criminal justice that affect all Alabamians.”
Jones also inherits the task of rebuilding the Democratic Party in Alabama from the uncoordinated efforts of his campaign with Black, young, educated and women voters to pull together a winning strategy and campaign for the upcoming 2018 races, which include the Governor and all constitutional offices as well as the full State Legislature.
Youth involvement panel at ANSC Convention includes William Scott, Moderator and panelists (l to R) Jasmine Walker, Jamia Jackson, Terri Wiggins and Azali Fortier
The Alabama New South Coalition met for its Fall Convention at the Montgomery Windcreek Casino on Saturday, November 2, 2017. The convention was well attended with over 200 delegates from twenty active chapters around the state.
The ANSC Convention was dedicated to creating interest and excitement in the December 12, Special Election for the U. S. Senate seat, vacated by Jeff Sessions. Democrat Doug Jones is running against Republican Roy Moore in a contest with state and national implications that is five weeks away.
The ANSC Convention featured a panel on youth involvement in politics and voting, a play about counteracting voter apathy, a report from county chapters on activities in the ‘Vote Or Die Campaign’ and luncheon speeches from two 2018 gubernatorial hopefuls – Sue Bell Cobb and Walt Maddox- and introduction of other candidates for next year.
The youth panel spoke about ways to motivate voters 18 to 40 to more actively participate in elections by utilizing social media like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to reach out to millennials on issues of concern to them. William Scott, panel moderator said he was working as the webmaster for the Vote Or Die Campaign Facebook account and for members and chapters to mail in reports and photos of activities that they want posted to this Facebook account.
Several ANSC chapters gave short reports on their work in the ‘Vote Or Die Campaign’ across the state.
• Sam Walker from Dallas County reported that they meet once a week on Thursdays and hold rallies holding ‘Vote Or Die’ signs as human billboards at the bridge in Selma and other sites around the city. We ask motorists to honk their horns in support of the campaign.
• Billy Billingsley of Gadsden is using voter lists from several organizations to do phone banking and door to door canvassing.
• Rebecca Marion of Tallapoosa County said her group was busy putting out Vote Or Die signs and canvassing for absentee voters.
• John Harris of Lee County said his chapter was meeting with ministers to help get out the vote. The chapter is also going into the jail, visiting barbershops, and going door-to-door for registration and absentee ballots.
• Esther Brown said her Project Hope death row prisoners were contacting family and friends to urge them to register and vote in this upcoming Special Election.
• Herman Mixon and Beulah Toney of Madison County reported on efforts to register people at community centers and A & M University. They are using social media to reach and motivate high school and college youth.
• Matilda Hamilton of Tallapoosa County had registered 153 new voters through the school system and was participating in rallies together with Lee County.
• Gus Townes reported that Montgomery County was working on voter registration; also focusing on ex-felons and working with churches to reach and register 1,000 new voters before the November 27, 2017 closing date before the Special Election.
• Rev. Hugh Morris from Talladega County said ANSC, ADC, NAACP, fraternities and sororities were working together to canvas, register and turn out voters. Michael Scales, ANSC Talladega County Chapter President said they were working with Talladega College, pastors and others on the campaign.
• Everett Wess of Jefferson County said the ANSC Chapter was partnering with other groups, had participated in the tailgating leading up to the Magic City Classic football game and other community gatherings to register voters and spread the ‘Vote Or Die Campaign’.
• Carol P. Zippert reported for Greene County that 50 high school students were registered and assisted with proper photo ID’s. A large community meeting was held to explore community issues like the future of the hospital and healthcare, recreational programs for youth and voting. U. S. Senate Candidate Doug Jones listened to the discussion and made remarks at the end. Greene County is now concentrating on absentee ballots and walk-in early voters for the next four weeks.
• A Macon County representative spoke on involving Tuskegee University Students in doing voter registration and canvassing leading up to the special election.
• Senator Hank Sanders reported that he has cut radio and TV ads promoting the importance of voting that are available to be sent to stations around the state. He said he participated in human billboards in Selma to promote the “Vote Or Die Campaign’.
Faya Rose Toure and a group from Selma and other counties did a role-play skit about voter apathy and reasons people give for not voting and how to counteract those concerns. The play was well received by ANSC members.
At the closing luncheon, ANSC members heard from two Democratic candidates who are planning to run in the June 2018 primary. Sue Bell Cobb, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court said she proposes an Alabama lottery to generate funds for childcare, K-12 public education and closing the gap between Pell Grants and the cost of college tuition.
Walt Maddox, Mayor of Tuscaloosa said he was running for Governor, “to build a brighter future for Alabama and make Alabama a better state for everyone.” He highlighted his record of rebuilding Tuscaloosa after the April 2011 tornadoes and making it the ninth fastest growing city in America.
Rev. Will Boyd of Florence announced that he was planning to run for Lieutenant Governor in 2018. Audri Scott Williams indicated that she was running for U. S. House of Representatives for District 2 against incumbent Martha Roby. Everett Wess stated he was running for Jefferson County Probate Judge – Place 1.
The Alabama New South Coalition and the SOS Coalition for Justice and Democracy are sponsoring a statewide effort to register voters, educate voters and turnout voters for the December 12, 2017 Special Election for the U. S. Senate.
The Senate race pits Democratic candidate, Doug Jones, against
Republican Roy Moore. A recent poll by Fox News shows the race tied with each candidate at 42% and the remaining 15% undecided. This will be a very close race that will likely be decided by turnout on Election Day.
Faya Rose Toure who is heading up the efforts said, “We are trying to excite voters about the importance of voting in this special election. We are hoping to motivate people about the importance of their one vote in this election and letting them know that they have a lot to lose if they do not turnout and cast their vote on December 12, 2017.”
She continued, stating our campaign is telling people that if they don’t vote they may die because health care will be taken away by Congress. One recent vote on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act was defeated by one Senator’s vote.
We are telling people that they will risk jobs at livable wages and an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour if they do not vote.
We are saying you need to vote to stop police brutality and shooting unarmed Black and Brown people or you may die.
We are saying that we need affordable college educations without overwhelming student debt or our young people will die from lack of opportunity.
“We are trying to shock people to know that they have a lot to lose and much to gain by voting. Whether you say ‘Vote or Die’ or ‘Vote and Stay Alive’, we need you to vote,” said Toure.
ANSC chapters around the state are holding voter registration rallies, doing door-to-door canvassing, participating in homecoming parades and taking other steps to get the message to people that they need to register and prepare to turnout to vote December 12 in the Special Election.
This weekend, the Birmingham ANSC will be holding a voter registration drive as part of the Magic City Classic Football game between Alabama A&M University and Alabama State University at Legion Field in Birmingham. The chapter will have a table near Gate 3A near the stadium.
Greene County ANSC chapter is planning a community meeting next Monday, October 30, 2017 to discuss community problems as they relate to voting and help people to prepare for absentee balloting and preparing to turnout for the Special Election which is now less than 50 days away.
Today, Greene County ANSC Chapter together with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and the Greene County High School faculty registered 28 young people who are 18 or will turn 18 before Election Day. This is in addition to 23 students previously registered this school year.
Sumter County ANSC registered 49 young people in the Sumter Central High School last week.
In Selma, the Dallas County ANSC assisted by other groups holds up ‘Vote or Die’ campaign signs, during the evening rush-hour traffic period. The group is meeting weekly on Thursdays to develop strategies to increase voter turnout.
In Huntsville, the ANSC chapter assisted by other groups has registered over one hundred new voters by visiting community centers, churches and housing developments.
Statewide, a thousand ‘Vote or Die’ yard signs and 100,000 voter cards have been distributed. Radio messages concerning the importance of one vote are available from ANSC and SOS. Contact Ms. Shelley Fearson at the ANSC State Office in Montgomery at 334-262-0932 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
In yesterday’s statewide Democratic primary for the U. S. Senate, Doug Jones won 1,303 votes or 93% of the 1,408 votes cast in Greene County.
Statewide, Jones received 64% of the vote cast, which means that he has won the nomination with out a second primary. Jones can now campaign for the special General Election on December 12, 2017.
Final vote totals are still being compiled.
In the Republican primary, there will be a run-off between Luther Strange, who currently holds the Senate seat and Judge Roy Moore, who has been removed twice from the Alabama Supreme Court for ethics violations. The two Republicans will square off in the run-off election on September 26. Statewide, Moore led with 39% followed by Strange with 32% and Congressman Mo Brooks third with 20%.
In Greene County, there were 272 votes cast in the Republican primary, with Moore receiving 128 (47%) votes, Strange 87 (32%) and Mo Brooks 32 (12%).
Senator Hank Sanders commented, “We are proud of the results of this primary. Doug Jones is the best candidate. He was endorsed by Alabama New South Alliance, ADC, labor unions and civic groups, which helped him to win the Democratic Primary without a runoff. We know he will have an uphill battle to win the seat on December 12, but we are going to work together with him to put together a winning campaign for this important Senate seat.”
Doug Jones a former U.S. Attorney known for the prosecution of convicted killers Thomas Blanton and Bobby Frank Cherry for the 1963 Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing, has picked up several endorsements from Democratic leaders, including Rep. John Lewis of Georgia and Rep. Terri Sewell. Last week, Jones also received an endorsement from former Vice President Joe Biden.
“All my life I have been trying to work with folks to make sure people have equal opportunities–they’re treated fairly, they’re treated the same under the law, they be treated with dignity and respect,” Jones said when he arrived to his watch party after learning he had won.
“You know, 15 years ago, I actually went up against the Klan. And we won,” Jones said.
Jones said his campaign is looking forward to the general election set for later this year. “We’re going to have the same message through December that we’ve had through August. We will be discussing ‘kitchen table issues’ like providing affordable healthcare for all people, working for a livable wage and making sure young people can afford higher education without overwhelming debt.”
See below more detailed campaign results for Greene County by precinct.
Candidate Doug Jones with Greene County Commissioner Michael Williams (Dist. 5) at the ANSA screening
After a screening meeting with seven candidates for the position of U. S. Senator from Alabama, the Alabama New South Alliance unanimously endorsed Attorney Doug Jones of Birmingham for this position, in the statewide Democratic Primary set for August 15, 2017.
This is a special election, prescribed by Governor Kay Ivey to fill the U. S. Senate seat that was vacated by Jefferson Beauregard Sessions when he was selected to be U. S. Attorney General Luther Strange was appointed by Governor Robert Bentley to occupy this seat until the special election. Strange is running for the position in the Republican primary against several challengers including former Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, congressman Mo Brooks, and eight others.
“It was the unanimous consensus of our ANSA Screening Committee to endorse Doug Jones for this U. S. Senate position, in the Democratic Primary, in the Special Election on August 15, 2017. He met all of the criteria that we set up to measure candidates and he gave strong answers to a wide array of questions raised by our committee,” said Sharon Calhoun, Co-Chair of ANSA.
Doug Jones was the former U. S. Attorney for North Alabama, based in Birmingham from 1997 to 2002. He was appointed by President Clinton and confirmed by a Republican controlled Senate.
Jones is best known for the successful prosecution of those responsible for killing four young girls in the 1963 Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing.
In 2002, Jones was the lead prosecutor in the case that won murder convictions against Thomas Blanton and Bobby Frank Cherry for the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church that killed four girls. The convictions came nearly 40 years after the 1963 bombing.
Jones also worked on the indictment of Birmingham abortion clinic bomber Eric Robert Rudolph, whose 1998 attack killed an off-duty police officer and severely injured a clinic nurse. Rudolph, who also placed a bomb at the Atlanta Olympics, was captured and convicted after Jones left office.
Jones has worked in private practice in Birmingham for the past 15 years and represented various clients including former Jefferson County Commissioner Chris McNair and others in various cases.
Jones said in his interview that Alabama officials spend too little time focused on the real concerns of the people — jobs, health care and education — and instead have “played on our fears and exploited our divisions for their own self interests.”
“We need leaders who people can talk to, reason with, and trust even if they don’t agree on every political position. We need leaders who people can talk to, reason with, and trust even if they don’t agree on every political position.”
Jones indicated that his work on the Birmingham church bombing cases had gained him a national following and reputation which would help in fundraising and support for his Senate race.
He told the ANSA Screening Committee, “ I want to work to use this Senate race to reinvigorate the Democratic Party in Alabama. This will be a transformational race and hopefully it will open the doors for the 2018 state races for Governor and Legislature.”
Seven candidates appeared before the ANSA Screening Committee on Saturday. They included six Democrats and one Republican. The Democrats in addition to Doug Jones were: Michael Hansen, Rev. Will Boyd, Jason E. Fisher, Vann Caldwell, and Brian McGee. The Republican was James Baretta.
“We want to encourage these candidates to stay active in the political process. We could only endorse one for this special election – but we will need many Democratic candidates in the 2018 election. We encourage these candidates to remain active with ANSC and ANSA and prepare for future elections,” said Gus Townes, ANSA Co-Chair.
For more information on the ANSA endorsement contact: Ms. Shelley Fearson – 334/262-0932