Alabama GOP Is Offering $1,000 for Voter Fraud Tips at Polling Places Today

Mother Jones

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Today, more than 700,000 Alabamans are headed to the polls for the state’s Democratic and Republican primaries. It’s the first election since Alabama passed its tough new voter ID law, but the Alabama Republican Party apparently doesn’t think the bill goes far enough. According to the state GOP newsletter, the party is sending trained volunteers to patrol polling places—and offering $1,000 rewards for tips that lead to felony voter fraud convictions. Below is a snippet from the missive, which went out Monday:

Any suspicion of fraud or witnessing the willful non-enforcement of the Alabama’s voter laws needs to be reported….”Reward Stop Voter Fraud” signs with our hotline number will be placed at random polling locations tomorrow and at all polling locations in November. Poll watchers trained by ALGOP staff will also be watching to ensure that Alabama’s election laws—including the new photo voter ID law—are not being violated. Our signs and poll watchers will send a clear message to those wishing to commit voter fraud. Anyone attempting to tamper with the election process will be caught and will be prosecuted.

The campaign could add to the confusion surrounding the new law’s requirements. And the underlying tactics are reminiscent of the controversial “ballot integrity” initiatives that cropped up in the 1960s, following the passage of two landmark bills: the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, which banned discriminatory voting practices such as poll taxes and literacy tests. Under a program called Operation Eagle Eye, the Republican National Committee recruited tens of thousands to volunteers to patrol polling places in heavily Democratic neighborhoods. The ostensible goal was to deter voter fraud, but some of their techniques seemed designed to intimidate voters. Poll watchers were encouraged carry walkie talkies, snap photos of citizens casting ballots, and enlist Republican-friendly sheriffs to help block voters whom the party had deemed ineligible. In Alabama, the GOP also offered rewards for tips leading to arrest and convictions for breaking certain election laws.

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Alabama GOP Is Offering $1,000 for Voter Fraud Tips at Polling Places Today

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