Controversial ballot harvesting legislation that caused significant stir in the 2023 regular legislative session has already been pre-filed for the 2024 legislation.
Picking up the illustrious Senate Bill 1 (SB1) designation, State Sen. Garlan Gudger (R-Cullman) filed the legislation earlier this month.
Gudger carried the bill in the 2023 session, but attention was mostly pointed to the House version sponsored by State Rep. Jamie Kiel (R-Russelville).
The bill would "prohibit any person from distributing, ordering, requesting, collecting, completing, obtaining, or delivering an absentee ballot application or absentee ballot of another person in certain circumstances."
It would also "prohibit a person from receiving a payment or providing a payment to another person for distributing, ordering, requesting, collecting, completing, obtaining, or delivering an absentee ballot application or absentee ballot of another person in certain circumstance."
The bill caused quite an upstir in the State House in the 2023 legislative session. Public protests, advocate press conferences and prolonged gridlock in the House of Representatives and Senate slowed proceedings for weeks.
Despite the extensive protests from Democratic lawmakers, the bill passed in the House but failed to make it to the Senate floor after a committee amendment.
The amendment to the legislation in the Senate Committee exempted persons assisting blind and disabled voters and voters who can't read or write from any criminal penalties. It also changed the penalties for those who order, request, collect, prefill, obtain or deliver an absentee ballot application or absentee ballot in addition to their own to a Class A misdemeanor rather than a Class D felony.
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