Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL) launched into her state's Secretary of State John Merrill following a judge's decision that accusations of "possible illegal crossover voters" were false.
Merrill had submitted more than 600 names of Alabama voters to a multiple probate judges throughout the state alleging the voters voted illegally and committed voter fraud in the September runoff between GOP candidates Roy Moore and Luther Strange, AL.com reported. Local officials declared that most if not all of the names were not illegally voting and no such voter fraud was committed.
"Merrill has been on the defensive ever since," AL.com claimed. Sewell reportedly sent a letter accusing the office of voter intimidation, which Merrill called "hilarious."
Sewell took the private feud public Thursday accusing him.
"Threatening innocent voters with jail time is never 'hilarious.' It's called voter intimidation," she tweeted, with a link to the story where Jefferson County probate judge Alan King said that there were zero illegal votes.
"Always helps to be informed about the issues that we want to speak about. If that’s not the case it often puts us in a defensive posture," Merrill shot back.
"Agreed. Surprised that anyone spoke out recommending the prosecution of 700 voters before checking the list for errors," Swell replied.
"Nobody did that," Merrill claimed, before turning to condescention. "That’s why it would be better if you were more informed before you spoke about an issue you’re not familiar with."
"I am very familiar with voter intimidation. I come from Selma where our families fought, bled, and died for their right to vote," Swell said.
"Nobody is talking about voter suppression your voter intimidation except for the uninformed. We would never stand for voter oppression," Merrill claimed.
He went on to say that she should call his office to discuss.
Twitter user @Kakee replied to Merrill's comments with a link to a story in which Merrill threatened to turn "crossover voters" to prosecutors. "You may think that your strongly-worded warnings were warranted, but honestly, to the average person, it TOTALLY comes across as intimidation," she tweeted.
"The move drew criticism from those who said voters could face prosecution for an honest mistake as the ban came into effect for the first time, but Merrill said it was his responsibility to report possible violations," AL.com reported in October.
"Going out on a witch hunt is the wrong word, but I think it is problematic that you would seek out people who crossed over and voted without assuring that every single training, every single instruction, every single understanding was followed in this election," said Alabama Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy Worley at the time.
Merrill replied to the woman saying that he could have taken another path "of no resistance" and let people allegedly break the law.
"We could have just said we don’t really care - let people do what they want to do - break the law - no problem -whatever you want to do - if it feels good do it. That is not our path," he tweeted.
You can see the full exchange below:
Threatening innocent voters with jail time is never "hilarious." It's called voter intimidation. @JohnHMerrill https://t.co/6ESIegArJ3— Rep. Terri A. Sewell (@Rep. Terri A. Sewell)1509649536.0
@RepTerriSewell Always helps to be informed about the issues that we want to speak about. If that’s not the case it… https://t.co/5Q5D7x86nt— John Merrill (@John Merrill)1509649601.0
@JohnHMerrill Agreed. Surprised that anyone spoke out recommending the prosecution of 700 voters before checking the list for errors.— Rep. Terri A. Sewell (@Rep. Terri A. Sewell)1509650210.0
@RepTerriSewell Nobody did that. That’s why it would be better if you were more informed before you spoke about an… https://t.co/djm7kfgYKE— John Merrill (@John Merrill)1509650283.0
@RepTerriSewell If you have a question about what we’re doing or why we’re doing it you should call me. You have my… https://t.co/lrWyg2GKPJ— John Merrill (@John Merrill)1509650373.0