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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Alabama Governor Leads Effort to Purge Voters

We learned yesterday that Alabama is one of 19 states where secret voter purges are under way, in apparent efforts to suppress likely Democratic voters.

Today we learn who is responsible for the voter purge in Alabama--the office of Republican Governor Bob Riley.

The Alabama Administrative Office of Courts (AOC) has determined that eligible voters are being wrongly denied the right to cast a ballot in the coming election because of the way the Riley administration defines a crime of "moral turpitude."

The AOC sent a memo earlier this week to probate judges, sheriffs and circuit clerks saying that people who should be allowed to vote have been stricken from the voter rolls based on information from the Riley administration over which felony convictions bar people from voting.

AOC officials said the memo was designed to help identify citizens who have been wrongly denied the right to vote over the past 18 months and notify them that they are eligible to vote on November 4.

"You're not talking about a few hundred people," said Joe Turnham, chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party. "You're probably talking about thousands and perhaps tens of thousands of voters that were legally entitled to vote that have been purged or denied their ability to register."

One man was blocked from voting because he was convicted years ago of having too much unopened beer in his car while driving through a dry county.

Riley's office claims that 480 of the state's 575 felony crimes involve moral turpitude. The AOC, however, lists only 70 crimes that should bar someone from voting.

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