PRESS RELEASES from Alabama Secretary of State
October 10, 2008

Alabama's Voters Not Removed For Social Security Numbers

Montgomery –Secretary of State Beth Chapman said Alabamians are not being removed or hindered from voting because of any problems with their Social Security Numbers.

The Social Security Administration sent out a press release this week claiming a number of states had more requests to check social security numbers for voter registration purposes than usual. The Social Security Administration notified the states via fax letter on Monday and released the press release the following day.

Since that time, there have been questions about checking the social security numbers for voter registration purposes and whether individuals were being removed from the voter list if there was a problem with a social security number.

The Help America Vote Act established the requirement of using a valid driver’s license number to create an identifier for voters in a voter registration system. Secretary of State Beth Chapman notified the Boards of Registrars that a driver’s license number must be used first, above any other information, in order to register to vote.

If a person does not possess a valid driver’s license number, or in the event that the driver’s license number is invalid after a check from the Department of Public Safety, the last four digits of the social security number are to be used to create an identifier for the voter. The Social Security Administration said they are getting more requests to check for these numbers than usual from the State of Alabama, as well as other states.

In some states, an invalid social security number or lack of a matching driver’s license number will prevent a person from being registered to vote. “We do not want to be painted with a broad stroke by the national media,” Chapman said. “Voter registration laws around the nation are specific to the individual states.”

Chapman said she accounts for the large number of checks on social security numbers due to a major increase in voter registration applications being processed by the Boards of Registrars. “One county has registered over 35,000 voters in less than three months” Chapman said. “We are all working over and above what we have seen in prior elections. I can sympathize with the Social Security Administration’s abundance of work, because we all have an abundance of important work to do at this time.

However, “Democracy is much more important than bureaucracy,” Chapman said and “To that end we will continue to work toward making this election the most honest and fair election possible” Chapman concluded.


October 13, 2008

Voter Registration Requests at an All-Time High - Secretary of State’s Office Open on State Holiday

MONTGOMERY- Secretary of State Beth Chapman reported today that requests for voter registration applications are at an all-time high in Alabama. Chapman’s office, which remained opened during today’s state holiday, Columbus Day, has mailed 13,000 voter registration applications over the past twelve months to individuals requesting them from her website alone. In addition thousands have been shipped from Chapman’s office warehouse in bulk to various groups conducting voter registration drives.


Jefferson County has registered 35,000 new voters in less than three months while Shelby County registered 5,232 last month with 2,000 new applications waiting to be entered into the system. Montgomery reported 10,000 applications in less than a month and the numbers being reported across the state are basically the same on a per capita basis.


“Our Probate Judges, Circuit Clerks and Registrars across the state and their staffs are working extraordinarily hard to meet the needs of our voters. There is no doubt that this November will see the highest number of voters in our state’s history,” Secretary Chapman said.


Chapman’s office remained open today when most state employees are celebrating Columbus Day. “My staff and our state’s voter registrars are working nights, weekends and holidays to ensure that every eligible voter is registered and that we have the most fair and honest elections process possible,” Chapman said.


Chapman and her staff have developed a state-of-the-art website to assist voters. The site, provides those interested with their voter registration status, a sample ballot, the location of their polling place and much more. “We have brought new technology to the voters of our state and they are using it to the tune of thousands of hits a day” Chapman said.


The deadline for voter registration is October 24. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is October 30. For more information please visit or call toll-free 1-800-274-VOTE.



October 16, 2008

Secretary Chapman Stands Up to Federal Government

Montgomery – Secretary of State Beth Chapman sent a letter to the Department of Justice today saying she will not allow her state to enter into another consent decree holding Alabama hostage for the sins of the past.


On October 14th, Sec. Chapman received a letter from the Justice Department threatening to sue her and the State of Alabama if she did not agree to, in effect, enter a guilty plea for her predecessor’s mistakes in not reporting statistics with regard to military and overseas voters in 2004 and 2006.


Chapman said the Federal Government should have much bigger “fish to fry,” during times like these.  Chapman also said that Alabama taxpayers should no longer have to bear the burden for frivolous lawsuits brought about by the Federal Government.


This attempt by the Federal Government to threaten Chapman by dangling a lawsuit over her head and holding Alabama accountable for something that did or did not happen in a past administration is an abuse of power. “This is like the local library fining you for an overdue book two months before it is overdue,” Chapman said.


State and Federal law require that this information be reported to the United States Election Assistance Commission after each election and the information is to be provided by the counties. Chapman’s predecessor failed to report such information and upon Chapman’s taking office there were no records available and the Supervisor of Voter Registration position was vacant due to litigation which was started prior to Chapman’s entering office. Therefore, no report was made.


Chapman, who was called on to testify as an expert witness regarding military and overseas voting before a congressional committee, was asked about the lack of statistical information by the committee chairman.  Chapman is on record as explaining the lack of information in the past and her commitment to improving compliance in the future.


 “As a lifelong Alabamian, I am tired of Alabama being made a mockery of for things that have happened in the past. It is ironic that such a miscarriage of justice would be carried out by what I now call the ‘Injustice Department’,” she concluded.


Since taking office in January 2007, Chapman has taken a number of steps to improve compliance with UOCAVA.  Alabama was one of the first states in our country to create a website devoted to providing military access to voting information.  In addition, Governor Riley signed an Executive Order drafted by Chapman and her staff that established a Military and Overseas Voting Task Force which Chapman chairs.  Alabama is the only state in the nation to organize a meeting in which the only three vendors in the world that perform internet voting provided demonstrations of their capabilities.  Also, Chapman was chosen by the National Association of Secretaries of State chose to testify as a witness in a congressional hearing on military and overseas voting.


 Chapman has worked on a state, national, and international level in promoting the advancement of the right for military and overseas voters to have a more efficient and effective means by which to cast their votes.



October 28, 2008

Chapman Announces Historic Moment in Alabama Elections

MONTGOMERY – Secretary of State Beth Chapman announced today that Alabama has reached the three million mark of registered voters.


This number has dramatically increased over the past three months leading up to the November 4th General Election from approximately 2.8 million voters to over three million. Chapman gives credit to the state’s voter registrars and her staff for the outstanding job they are performing under unusually stressful circumstances.


“This is a remarkable milestone in Alabama’s history.  More people than ever want to be a part of this historic election. It is my hope that we will never lose sight of the fact that it is because of so many brave men and women who have gone before us that we have the opportunity to participate in democracy.” 


Chapman predicts a historic voter turnout on November 4th of 79 to 81 percent.


Larger registration numbers more than likely mean more people than usual at the polls.  “Preparation of the polling places rests in the hands of the capable Probate Judges and other elections officials across the state.  The Probate Judges are aware of the increased numbers and they are preparing their counties accordingly,” Chapman said.


As of the time of this release, Alabama has 3,000,826 registered voters.



October 28, 2008

Alabama’s Three Millionth Voter

MONTGOMERY – Secretary of State Beth Chapman announced and contacted Alabama’s three millionth registered voter today.


Brittany Farless, a single mother residing in Maylene in Shelby County was the historic voter registrant. She is a graduate of Thompson High School in Alabaster and a student in nursing at Jefferson State Community College.


When asked what her motivation for registering to vote the single mother of one said, “I think it is a critical time in our nation’s history and I think my vote will affect many generations.” Farless noted the economy as her main interest in this election.


“Ms. Farless is a perfect example of a citizen who realizes the need to register to vote and the effect that will have on our state and nation for years to come,” Chapman said.


As of the time of this article 3,000,826 Alabamians have registered to vote and the number continues to grow.