Ed Packard, Republican Party candidate for Secretary of State, announced his support on Monday for House Bill 204 (HB204) and Senate Bill 249 (SB249) and called on the Alabama Legislature to pass both bills.

House Bill 204

HB204 is sponsored by State Rep. Tommy Hanes (R-Scottsboro). It addresses the concerns of a large number of Alabamians who want the 2020 general election in Alabama to be audited, given concerns that have arisen nationally regarding voter fraud and malfeasance.

“There is obviously a public interest in ensuring that Alabamians have confidence in our elections,” Packard said. “Auditing elections is one process that can help maintain or strengthen voters’ confidence.

“As I have reported previously, Alabama is one of only a handful of states that does not require or permit audits of our elections. As I have stated during my campaign for Secretary of State, I believe that the Alabama Legislature should require audits for all elections.

According to the synopsis of HB204, “This bill would require the canvassing board of each county to conduct a one-time post-election audit of the November 3, 2020, statewide general election to determine the accuracy of the originally reported outcome of the election. This bill would also require the Secretary of State to make available for purchase a list of names removed from the list of registered voters between December 1, 2020, and January 31, 2021.”

“Unfortunately, HB204 has languished in the Legislature since its introduction on February 2, 2022,” Packard said. “Alabamians may have varying opinions as to whether the 2020 general election should be audited or about how that audit should be conducted. The appropriate legislative committees should bring HB204 up for consideration and let those opinions be examined in the bright light of day.”

There has been no evidence of any large-scale election fraud in the 2020 election in the state of Alabama, which then-President Donald J. Trump (R) won handily. To this point in time, none of the 2020 election results have been reversed even in states that were tightly contested and that performed costly post-election audits.

Senate Bill 249

SB249 is sponsored by state Senator Sam Givhan (R-Huntsville). It identifies new election crimes and clarifies language in the Code of Alabama regarding current election crimes.

“Passage of this bill by the Alabama Legislature would continue the important work of rooting out election fraud and promoting and strengthening the confidence of Alabamians in our elections,” Packard claimed. “SB249 could be better though. I would encourage Senator Givhan and other members of the state Senate and House to amend this legislation. The legislation, when passed, should punish anyone who commits a felony election crime with the loss of their voting rights until they fulfill all the terms of their conviction.

“Persons who undermine elections in Alabama by committing felony election crimes should not be afforded the right to vote until they complete all the terms imposed on them by a judge when the criminal sentencing is imposed,” Packard said.

SB249 has received a favorable report from the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee.

Packard is a longtime employee of the Secretary of State’s office election division.

Wes Allen, Ed Packard, and Jim Zeigler are all running for the Republican nomination for Secretary of State in the Republican primary on May 24. The eventual Republican nominee will face Democrat Pamela J. Laffitte in the Nov. 8 general election.

Current Secretary of State John H. Merrill (R) is term-limited from seeking a third consecutive term in office.

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