Alabama Republican likens automatic voter registration to giving ‘everyone a trophy’

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill is speaking out against a new reform in voter registration that could lead to a great increase in the amount of registered voters, Slate reports.


Merrill continued, “I’m not going to embarrass them by allowing someone that’s too sorry to get up off of their rear end to go register to vote … because they think they deserve the right because they turned 18.”


“These people fought, some of them were beaten, some of them were killed because of their desire to ensure that everybody that wanted to had the right to register to vote and participate in the process,” Merrill explained in an interview with the voting rights initiative, Answering the Call.


However, Merrill is opposed to the initiative because, he says, it “cheapen[s] the work” of civil rights activists, adding that “just because you turned 18 doesn’t give you the right [to vote].”


The measure would automatically register eligible citizens “who interact with government agencies” to vote. Additionally, it would ensure that voter-registration information be transferred to election officials electronically, leaving less room for error in the process, according to the Brennan Center.



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