n Editorial by Secretary of State Wes AllenOver the last decade, there have been multiple convictions for absentee ballot fraud across the state of Alabama. As a Probate Judge, a legislator and now as Secretary of State, I am committed to eliminating election fraud in our state. HB209, sponsored by Rep. Jamie Kiel, makes incredible strides in protecting the rights of Alabama voters to cast their own votes without undue influence.Currently, it is legal for groups operating as non-profits to offer payments in exchange for absentee ballot applications to Alabama registered voters. HB209 would end that.Today, it is legal for out of state organizations to mail pre-filled absentee ballot applications to unsuspecting voters across the state, some of whom have moved or who have no intention of voting absentee. HB209 would prohibit this practice.HB209 would make it illegal to pay, or to be paid by a third party to collect absentee ballot applications or absentee ballots from Alabama voters. Furthermore, it would eliminate the ability of organizations to sow the seeds of chaos and confusion by sending pre-filled absentee applications into our state. Our elections are the foundation of our constitutional republic, and nobody should be paid for their absentee application or their ballot. Ballot harvesting should not be a job description.Rep. Kiel shepherded HB209 through the Alabama House of Representatives and through the Senate committee. Senator Garlan Gudger will present HB209 for a vote to the entire State Senate and on to Governor Ivey’s desk for her signature. I applaud these two legislators for their efforts to further secure Alabama’s elections and to help protect each individual Alabama voter’s right to cast their own ballot without interference. That is, after all, the foundation of this great nation.