“A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
I was in this world less than two months when Dr. King was assassinated. So, all I know about him is from American history classes, books, video clips of his television appearances, and video or audio clips of his speeches.
What I do know about Dr. King is that he was a wise man.
He inspired his contemporaries to be better than the worst parts of their collective history.
And, through those video and audio clips, books, and history classes, his story has been told.
And, therefore, Dr. King continues to inspire all of us to be better than the worst parts of our collective history.
I hope when you are – and I am – presented with a choice, we will always take a stand for that which is true.
On this second day of 2022, I find myself reflecting on various people and events from my past. Given that the first week of my campaign for the Republican nomination for Secretary of State is winding down, I’ve been thinking about the start of my career as an election administrator.
Those reflections led me to think about former Secretary of State Jim Bennett. He played an important part in my becoming an election administrator in Alabama. He recruited me to come back to Alabama after I accepted a job in North Carolina. I had worked two years with him previously when I was with a unit at Auburn University which had contracts with the Secretary of State, mainly to implement programs under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.
The accompanying photo is from those early years when I worked closely with Secretary Bennett. In the photo is me (left), Secretary Bennett (center), and Anita Tatum (right), the Director of the former Office of Voter Registration. Ms. Tatum’s office was merged into the Secretary of State’s office later.
Unfortunately, we lost Secretary Bennett in 2016 to cancer
Secretary Bennett served an incredible 12 years as Secretary of State, not to mention his other service to the people of Alabama in the Alabama House of Representatives and Alabama Senate.
I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with him and for him. He was the consummate public servant and an amazing role model for my career.
Like most people, I usually make a few resolutions regarding things I’d like to accomplish in the new year. Here are a few resolutions I’d like to propose for the State of Alabama regarding elections and the administration of elections:
The Alabama Legislature should pass legislation requiring process audits for all elections held in Alabama. The audits would be used to determine whether the laws and procedures governing elections were followed by election administrators in conducting our elections.
The Alabama Legislature should amend the requirements for electronic voting machines to specifically prohibit telecommunication devices in our voting machines. This prohibition should cover not only conventional telephone modems but also Bluetooth, near field communication, and any equipment that would provide connectivity to the Internet.
The Alabama Legislature should provide for “initiative”. Alabamians should be able to address areas of concern that the Legislature has not addressed directly. This action would recognize and honor where the Alabama Constitution says “all political power is inherent in the people”.
The Alabama Legislature should provide to Alabamians with disabilities the same methods of voting that are currently available to members of the armed forces and their spouses and dependents as well as Alabamians who are United States citizens residing overseas. Specifically, Alabamians with disabilities should be able to receive their ballot electronically and cast their voted ballot electronically.