About the Election
Election Day is Tuesday, December 12th. Alabama voters will be choosing the replacement for Jeff Sessions in the United States Senate.
The Outrageous Backstory
After 20 years of representing Alabama the United States Senate, Jeff Sessions (R) resigned to serve as the Attorney General of the United States in the Trump administration.
Then-Governor Robert Bentley appointed Alabama’s Attorney General Luther Strange to fill the seat. He called for a very late special election—coinciding with the general election on November 6, 2018. Then, a sex scandal involving Bentley was exposed by the press, and he ended up resigning as part of a guilty plea for a charge of campaign finance violations.
The scandal also raised a lot of questions about the propriety of the Luther Strange appointment. Why did Governor Bentley appoint the Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange—whose job would have been to investigate the governor’s scandals—to the US Senate? Why did he get this appointment after having not prosecuted the governor? And why did the Governor give Strange such a cushy appointment, with an election delayed until November of 2018?
After Bentley resigned, then-Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey took the oath of office to succeed Bentley. Her very first act was to re-schedule the election for Sessions’s seat. She moved the primary to August 15, the primary run-off to September 26, and the general election to December 12. She wanted to send a clear signal that any rewards that Bentley gave for protecting him would not be honored by the new administration.
Now Luther Strange had to defend his seat much earlier than expected—and now he had to do so under a cloud of scandal. And he had to do so in a special election on a non-consolidated date—so he had to get enough voters to turn out to vote solely to vote for him.
Luther Strange came second in the primary and lost the runoff to Roy Moore. Not just because of the scandal—but also because he was running against Roy Moore.
About Roy Moore, the current Republican candidate
Despite recent calls for him to step down, Roy Moore is the Republican nominee for United States Senate in this election.
Roy Moore has twice been the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. He has also been removed from that office twice. The first time, for refusing to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments that he commissioned. The second time, for directing probate judges to disregard the United States Supreme Court decision recognizing marriage equality for same-sex couples.
Roy Moore is a reprehensible human being. To this day, he believes homosexual activity should be illegal. He objected to Keith Ellison being seated in Congress because Representative Ellison is a Muslim. He believes 9/11 happened because God wanted to punish us for America’s declining religiosity. He does not believe Barack Obama was born in the United States. Most recently, he has been accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old when he was in his thirties.
But Roy Moore also has a very dedicated, reliable base of supporters. They turn out in every election, even special elections. And that is how Roy Moore defeated Luther Strange.
About Doug Jones, Democratic Candidate
Doug Jones is a former United States Attorney. This is his first run for elected office. In the year 2002, he successfully prosecuted two KKK terrorists who had bombed Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church. They bombed the church in 1963, nearly four decades before Doug Jones brought them to justice. Several of his witnesses died of old age before they could testify. But Doug Jones still managed to get life sentences for both of the KKK thugs.
Doug Jones is running an unapologetically Democratic campaign, despite being in a deep red state. He supports all major Democratic policy tentpoles. Despite running in Alabama, he has the text “I will defend a woman’s right to choose and stand with Planned Parenthood” on the main page of his campaign website.
Doug Jones thinks Alabama voters are tired of scandals, and what they want now is competent, honest leadership from someone of whom they can be proud. And Doug ticks all of the boxes. He says he is running because it is time for Alabama to start leading.
Alabamians can register to vote online at http://www.iwillvote.com
Absentee voting is a complicated process in Alabama. It’s only recommended (and is only permitted) if necessary. Absentee voters will need to be able to include a photocopy of their voter ID when returning their completed ballot.
Except under unforeseen circumstances, voters who intend to vote absentee must request an absentee ballot by Thursday, December 7 (5 days before the election).
A voter may cast an absentee ballot if he or she:
- Won’t be in the county on Election Day
- Is ill or disabled
- Is registered in the county but is living outside of the county as a member of the armed forces, a voter employed outside the United States, a college student, or a spouse or child of such a person
- Is serving as a registered election officer or poll observer
- Works a required shift, 10 hours or more, that coincides with polling hours
Work/medical emergency applications can be made after the absentee deadline but no later than 5 PM on the day before the election, if the voter:
- is required by an employer under unforeseen circumstances to be out of the county on election day for an emergency business trip, or
- has a medical emergency requiring treatment from a licensed physician
In addition to application information outlined in the next section, the business emergency application contains an affidavit acknowledging that the voter was not aware of the out-of-county business trip prior to the normal absentee ballot deadline. The medical emergency application requires that the attending physician describe and certify the circumstances as constituting an emergency.
Alabama voters should visit alabamavotes.gov to learn more about the process and request a ballot.
Mandatory Voter Photo ID
A voter can use any of the following forms of photo ID at the polls starting June 3, 2014:
- Valid Alabama Driver’s License
- Valid Alabama Non-driver ID
- Valid Alabama Photo Voter ID (any voter who does not possess another valid form of ID can get one of these for free)
- Valid State Issued ID (Alabama or any other state)
- Valid Federal Issued ID
- Valid US Passport
- Valid Employee ID from Federal Government, State of Alabama, County Government, Municipality, Board, Authority, or other entity of this state
- Valid student or employee ID from a college or university in the State of Alabama (including postgraduate technical or professional schools)
- Valid Military ID
- Valid Tribal ID
If a voter possesses any of these forms of ID, he/she is not eligible to receive a free Alabama photo voter ID card. The voter must bring one of these photo IDs to the polls on Election Day or place a copy of the ID in absentee ballot materials.
Doug Jones on the Issues
“I will bring integrity back to Washington and back to Alabama politics. The people of Alabama have been embarrassed by corruption and a string of ethics investigations and convictions of people they placed into positions of power and trust. They deserve better. We all deserve better.”
Reasonable people on both sides of the aisle know that the ACA has room for improvement. But it shouldn’t be repealed.
“I will defend a woman’s right to choose and stand with Planned Parenthood.”
Help small businesses, streamline regulations, raise the minimum wage to a living wage.
“I want to be perfectly clear: I believe in science.”
“Rather than promise that miners can return for generations to dangerous, scarcely regulated jobs, I believe America must step up to provide a safety net of health care and job retraining for these workers and prepare all children in Alabama for a 21st century economy.”
“State and local government spending on jails and prisons has risen at more than three times the spending on education in the last two and a half decades. We can do better. We must do better.”
“I was born just outside of Birmingham in Fairfield, Alabama in 1954 and came of age during the height of the heinous hatred and violence of 1960’s Alabama. Along with the horrors of racial discrimination, I had a front row seat to the bravery and persistence of the American heroes of the Civil Rights Movement –many of whom became friends and mentors.
“For me, those formative years forged my values and a deep sense of responsibility to fight for what’s right and to treat everyone with dignity and respect as fellow human beings. I followed those values to law school to learn to fight for justice. I am proud of my service as U.S. Attorney and am proud to have successfully taken on the Ku Klux Klan, terrorists like Eric Rudolph, and many others who sought to use fear, hatred, and violence to inhibit the rights of others.
“I believe that we are all created equal in the eyes of the Lord and the law. While we have made progress on civil rights as a nation, we cannot be complacent with continued threats to equality and justice. The racially motivated Charleston church massacre and Charlottesville are stark reminders of that continued threat. I believe that the United States of America is a land of laws, justice, freedom, equality, and opportunity.
“I will take those values to Washington, and keep fighting for what’s right – whether it’s popular or not.”
Info from Democracy Action SF