Secretary of State’s Office to monitor Mobile’s municipal election

Alabama’s Secretary of State says he is sending a team to monitor Mobile’s municipal election. Secretary John Merrill says his office has received multiple complaints ranging from absentee voting to poll worker training.

“When we continue to hear it over and over, and we continue to have it introduced to us from various sources we think it’s important to investigate it,” said Merrill.

The race pits current mayor Sandy Stimpson against former mayor Sam Jones. Jones, choosing Unity Park to voice his concerns, questioned Merrill’s authority to monitor the race and said poll monitoring could lead to voter intimidation.

“How does having a monitor at some of the polling locations, how does that intimidate voters?” asked Local 15’s Andrea Ramey.

“Well, a lot of our voters, especially senior voters when they see authorities whether they see a police officer or people from secretary of state, I don’t know how he plans to identify them, a lot of them are intimidated by that. And so what they will do is pick up the phone and call some of their friends and say look they got people down there at the polling place and I don’t know if you should go there,” said Jones.

Merrill insists his workers are not here to intimidate.

“We are not here on a witch hunt. We are here so people have a higher comfort level,” said Merrill.

Stimpson said he has no issue with the election being monitored.

Birmingham’s municipal race is also next Tuesday. Merrill says his office has not received complaints about the election there and has no plans send monitors.

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