Alabama secretary of state mocks voter who asked about strict photo ID law


John Merrill has claimed requiring a copy of your photo ID to vote absentee makes it 'easier to vote and harder to cheat.'

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill used his personal Twitter account this week to mock a voter who asked about Alabama's strict photo ID requirement for absentee voting.

A constituent tweeted at Merrill Tuesday morning to ask about voting in Alabama's July 14 runoff.

"I have found the PDF of the application and am fortunate enough to have a printer. But it also requires a copy of my drivers license. Do I have to go find a photocopier?"

After being told by the Alabama secretary of state's office account that a "photo ID is required by law to vote in Alabama," the voter asked for clarification, "Are folks going to need cameras, scanners and photocopiers to show proof of ID?"

Merrill, from his verified personal account, replied, "People that have a hard time figuring out the answer to that question probably need to vote in person."

Eddie Burkhalter of Alabama Political Reporter first flagged the tweets Tuesday afternoon. Soon after, Merrill responded with more insults.

"When I come to your house and show you how to use your printer I can also teach you how to tie your shoes and to tie your tie. I could also go with you to Walmart or Kinko's and make sure that you know how to get a copy of your ID made while you're buying cigarettes or alcohol," he tweeted.

Alabama has one of the nation's strictest photo ID laws. To vote absentee, a voter must include a photocopy of their photo identification with the absentee ballot application.

Merrill, a strong advocate of that law, has claimed it "mak[es] it easier to vote and harder to cheat!"

Alabama is currently under a statewide stay-at-home order, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the order defines office supply stores as "essential retailers" that can remain open, more than 90% of Americans are "staying home as much as possible" to avoid spread of the coronavirus, making photocopying an ID a challenge for many.

Merrill has a long history of spreading conspiracy theories about voter fraud and working to make it difficult for citizens to vote.

In 2017, he referred the names of 674 crossover voters to local elections officials, claiming that they had cast ballots in the Democratic primary and the subsequent Republican runoff election, in violation of a state law. He vowed to prosecute and send any knowing violators to jail for five years.

It was later discovered that approximately half of the names on his list were there due to clerical error. Merrill was eventually forced to backtrack.

Merrill made national news last year during his since-abandoned U.S. Senate campaign, when he complained that "There are no more good TV shows on like 'Gunsmoke,' 'Bonanza,' 'The Virginian,' 'Andy Griffith,' [and] 'I Love Lucy.'"

"We don't have those shows anymore," he said. "We're too interested in homosexual activities."

Merrill also lamented that television has no "shows that promote family and culture with a father, a mother and children based on biblical teachings and biblical principles on which our nation was founded."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.