the office of John H. Merrill
The following is a direct statement from Alabama Secretary of State John H. Merrill in response to the protests that resulted from the Electoral College Certification ceremony of Jan. 6 (statement made on Jan. 6):
“Today, Members of Congress gathered in our Nation’s Capitol to certify the state’s electoral votes and offer rejections, comments, and speculations.
“As members of the Senate and House of Representatives began debating the legitimacy of certain votes, protestors violently stormed the Capitol and attempted to overthrow our country’s democratic process.
“Although protestors have the constitutional right to have their voice heard, they do not have the right to be disruptive during the certification process that was put in place by our Founding Fathers in 1789 and has since survived the history of our Republic.
“We are fortunate to live in the greatest country in the world – a nation that allows for a difference of opinion. With this freedom comes the responsibility to follow the systematic process to have your opinion voiced, heard, and understood, without disrespecting others or putting lives at risk.
“We are a nation of laws. These laws must be strictly followed and enforced. It is time for America to support the law enforcement officers who serve to protect our personal freedoms – including that to protest.
“There is an appropriate time and method to express one’s displeasure with the outcome of an election, whether that is through voting in the next election or through introducing information during the legislative process. The answer, however, is never physical violence.
“The people who are currently occupying the Capitol are anarchists and should be treated as such by law enforcement.
“The type of behavior witnessed today in Washington, D.C. should never be encouraged or allowed.
“Human life is far more important than pandering to any politician or political group. President Trump should call on his supporters, who claim to support ‘law and order’, to stand down, follow the law, and unite behind our democratic process.
“Now is the time for Congress, not violent protestors, to either certify or reject the state’s electoral votes as required by our Constitution.
“Full faith and confidence in our elections must be restored. In order for that to happen, our Nation’s leaders must promote unity, understanding, and the willingness to work with those who may see things differently. This process begins with the actions of our Commander in Chief.”