"My Trusty Gavel" by Brian Turner / CC BY 2.0

Freedom From Religion group sues Alabama over ‘So help me God’ voter oath

Oct 2, 2020

By Greg Garrison

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has filed a federal lawsuit challenging Alabama’s mandatory religious oath for voter registration.

Alabama is the only state in the country that requires voters to register on a form mandating they swear “so help me God,” without allowing any option of a secular affirmation, the Madison, Wisconsin-based group said.

The foundation is filing on behalf of four Alabama citizens who have encountered and objected to the religious test when trying to register to vote. The defendant is Alabama Secretary of State John H. Merrill.

“The Alabama secretary of state excludes Alabama citizens from being able to vote if they are unable to swear a religious oath,” the lawsuit states. “The secretary of state’s official policy is to hinder the registration of voters who are unable to swear ‘so help me God.’ This policy violates the rights of the plaintiffs and others under the First and 14th Amendments to the United States Constitution.”

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