Voter registration big topic at Cullman Democrats meeting


Party chair Karen Johnson speaks to guests at this week’s meeting of the Cullman County Democratic Party. (Heather Mann for The Tribune)

CULLMAN – The Cullman County Democratic Party spent a lot of time at its meeting this week discussing possible ways to ensure more eligible voters become registered. The party is gearing up to support Democratic candidates in the November 8 general election.  (Remember, due to the crossover voting rule, voters who chose the Democratic ticket in the June 5 primary are not eligible to vote in the June 17 Republican run-off election. The crossover voting rule only applies to primary elections. There is no Democratic run-off on June 17.)

Voter registration was first brought up when discussing plans for the party's booth at the county fair, which members said they would not only use to help register eligible voters, but also to simply establish their presence in Cullman County and get the word out about their meetings. James Fields, who came to the meeting to thank Cullman County and the Democrats for all their support during his candidacy for governor, expressed a desire to see more voters register and come out to the polls. 

Unfortunately, making sure voters are registered makes no difference if the voters never show up to the polls. According to the results of the June primary elections (, Cullman County has more than 57,000 registered voters. However, less than 18,000 ballots were cast, meaning almost 70 percent of registered voters did not participate.

The Democrats discussed possible ways to help make the voting process seem less intimidating to new voters, ranging from printing and handing out rule sheets so that voters have a clear idea of what they and other people can and can't do, to appointing poll-watchers for the general election to ensure that no voters receive any biased treatment from the poll officials. One piece of advice that was offered was to make sure people know they have access to complaint slips that they can file if they feel that they have been treated unfairly. 

The party recognized two members who had been elected to the State Democratic Executive Committee: Tabatha Howse and Nick Shabel. Rhonda Jett was also elected, but she was absent from the meeting. Roger Duke, who has aided U.S. Representative candidate Lee Auman during his candidacy, also announced that any help with Auman's general campaign would be greatly appreciated.

"Let's make Aderholt work for it this time," he stated. "It's time to stop just handing (him) this position."

The party also stated that it is looking for volunteers for various events, such as riding in the fair parade, running the booths at the county fair (October 4-13) and the Smith Lake Sweet Tater Festival (September 2-3), and forming a search committee to nominate new local party officers for the November election. The positions being replaced will be chair, secretary, treasurer and possibly vice chair, and the nominations for these positions need to be ready by October to be presented in November. 

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