Is there a rumor mill on Goat Hill? Yes. But the secretary of state of AL has a recourse

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Greg Markley


By GREG MARKLEY

Gossip and conspiracy theories are part of human nature when it comes to campaigns and elections. This can lead to disinformation (misleading information created or disseminated without malice) or disinformation (deliberate and orchestrated attempts to confuse or manipulate via dishonest information). We see it in all sectors of society, whatever their personal characteristics.

It was even true in a top secret army “listening post” on a high hill in Turkey. I was the editor of the newspaper there in 1982-83 and the way information was transmitted uncontrolled was amazing. The problem: Many soldiers and civilians had too much free time, and not much to do, during the harsh winters. So I wrote a column called “Rumor Mill on the Hill”. I reminded readers that rumors are destructive both in the lives of individuals and in national defense

Disinformation and disinformation grow like kudzu in politics. To remedy this, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill produced a 31-page booklet titled “Alabama Election Access vs. Election Security ”. It is available at sos.alabama.gov and covers voter fraud, voter registration, postal voting and election day. Posted this month; it’s easy to read and very useful.

“In an age of disinformation and disinformation, voters around the world need to be reminded that election officials are the trusted sources of election information,” says Merrill. “Our office works diligently every day to ensure that voters in Alabama are informed of the most accurate and up-to-date information relating to the election.”

Merrill pointed out that misleading information spreads daily through social media and text messaging. Voters should know that AlabamaVotes.gov is their trusted source for election information. Regarding voter fraud, the Brennan Center for Justice, a non-partisan legal and political institute based at New York University, wrote an article titled “The Myth of Voter Fraud.”

“Politicians at all levels of government have repeatedly and incorrectly claimed that the 2016, 2018 and 2020 elections were marred by large numbers of people voting illegally,” the Center reports. “However, extensive research reveals that fraud is very rare, voter identity theft is virtually non-existent and many cases of suspected fraud are, in fact, mistakes made by voters and administrators. Most of the fraud allegations turn out to be unfounded.

Merrill’s booklet contains a voter register rumor mill, listing the top five rumors about voting. What do you think is the most common rumor? Is it “Deceased voters remain on the voters list,” “You can register to vote and vote at multiple locations in Alabama”, or “Non-citizens are allowed to register to vote and participate in elections? How about, “Anyone can register to vote on my behalf” or “Alabama removes voters who do not deserve to be removed from the voters list?” “

The answer is “Non-citizens are allowed to register to vote and participate in elections”. This is not true: State law only allows qualified citizens of Alabama to vote. The second most common rumor is, “You can register to vote and vote at several locations in Alabama. It’s as false as the rumor that Elvis Presley is alive. Why? Because Alabama has a centralized voter registration database, where all records are kept. The five elements of the rumor mill are wrong.

Former President Barack Obama said, “There is no vote that does not matter.” Sometimes this is true even for non-citizens, according to the Online Encyclopedia of American Politics (Ballotpedia). In June of this year, a dozen municipalities across the country allowed non-citizens to vote in local elections. Those identified were Maryland, which had nine, Vermont with two municipalities, and the city of San Francisco, California. Judging by these states, giving non-citizens the right to vote must be a cause famous among progressives.

The Pew Research Center noted that there were approximately 25 million non-citizens living in the United States in 2017. (That’s just four million less than the population of Texas.) That total of non-citizens included 12 , 3 million permanent residents and 2.2 million temporary residents in the country with legal permission, and 10.5 million people living in the United States without legal permission.

The Secretary of State’s new publication shows a high turnout – 62.8% of registered voters, showing great confidence in the 2020 elections. On election day, 2,329,114 registered voters cast their ballot. They may have learned that between April 7, 2015 and August 12, 2021, the state of Alabama processed 1,602 complaints, with six convictions, two elections quashed, and one official sacked during that six-month period. years.

In addition to the new disinformation and disinformation booklet, the Secretary of State’s office has the Alabama Voter Guide 2020 and the Alabama Polling Guide 2022. Both are available at www.sos.alabama.gov. For help, visit ALABAMAVOTES.GOV and STOPVOTERFRAUDNOW.COM.

The Cold War ended 30 years ago. (In a way, I miss it, because it was fascinating to be a part of a giant historical event like this.) Americans no longer live and work at the “Rumor Mill on the Hill” in Sinop. , in Turkey. Today we no longer need rumor mills on the hills. We need mountains of real information.

Greg Markley first moved to Lee County in 1996. He has a master’s degree in education and history. He taught politics as an auxiliary in Georgia and Alabama. An award-winning writer in the military and civilian life, he contributed to The Observer for 11 years. [email protected]


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