Tears and Laughter: The continuum of Wilcox County politics continues…

Pine Hill Impact Wilcox meeting

Pine Hill Impact Wilcox meeting

With standing room only at the October 16 Impact Wilcox meeting in Pine Hill, District Attorney Michael Jackson addressed the issue of excessive absentee voting.

Voter fraud through absentee ballot abuse has plagued Wilcox County since 1964. Initially it was white people who were in control of the black majority. After the Voting Rights Act was signed, they kept themselves in office by way of absentee votes.

There was even a popular saying at the time that claimed the reason the drives were paved in white cemeteries was so people wouldn’t get their feet wet when they returned to vote.

But black people soon learned to play this same game too and in an effort to create a “new south,” they mastered the art of collecting absentees.

The 1992 District 6 Commission race between David Wright and Reginald Southall is one of our most popular examples of how absentees swing Wilcox County elections. Only 34 voters drove to the polls to vote for Southall, but after the almost 600 absentee ballots were counted, Southall won by 11 votes.

This year on July 15, Wilcox had what was considered the first honest and fair election in decades. But the results of the runoffs are now threatened. With weeks left until the general election, over 250 absentee ballots have been applied for out of a district with just at 1250 registered voters.

Nobody is campaigning, but obviously a write-in campaign has been staged. Voters are being urged to mark Joey Green’s name again on the ballot though no other name will appear.

It is assumed the absentees are the result of Denish who lost to Green. But with standing Commissioner Reginald Southall’s history with absentee victories, there is speculation he could return, even though he lost to both Denish and Green in the primaries.

It was against this backdrop that District Attorney spoke to Impact Wilcox, the concerned citizen’s group dedicated to squelching corruption in local government.

Jackson acknowledged the history of voter fraud and questioned the importance of the Secretary of State’s office.

Jackson commended Impact Wilcox on the gains they have made in the county and encouraged them to contest as many of the absentee ballots possible on November 4. To get the local electoral officials involved, to bring facts not rumors, and suggested that people show up for grand jury duty when convictions are made.

Some Impact members were encouraged by the meeting calling it the most productive to date. Others described it as nothing more than spin.

In the July 15 runoff election, 50 absentee ballots were contested before a representative from the Secretary of State’s office. Of them, 10 of the ballots were 10 of a total of 21 registered to a two-bedroom mobile home. Not a single ballot was ruled obsolete.

Amanda Walker is a columnist with The West Al. Watchman, Al.com, The Thomasville Times, and The Wilcox Progressive Era – https://www.facebook.com/AmandaWalker.Columnist.

The above is a column from guest contributor Amanda Walker. The views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of The West Alabama Watchman.