Recent reports to the Alabama Secretary of State’s Office indicated the existence of an ad that was targeting Alabamians with incorrect or inaccurate information intent on confusing voters. The ad made claims that the candidate a voter casts their ballot for would be made public and would be shared with members of their community.
This ad was reported to be on YouTube among other digital platforms. Once the ad was reported Secretary Merrill instructed his team to work quickly to ensure Alabamians were not confused or dissuaded from participating in our democratic process due to misinformation or fear of retribution for how they chose to cast their ballot.
Secretary Merrill’s team contacted the Media and Advertising team at Google (YouTube’s parent company) and through several intense discussions and many references to Alabama State Law the team at Google felt the ad should be “disapproved” and that it was in violation of the AdWords advertising policies.
The ad has been removed by Google and was done so at the request of the Alabama Secretary of State’s Office.
This the text of the Highway 31 ad Merrill criticized:
“If you don’t vote and Roy Moore – a child predator – wins. Could you live with that? Your vote is public record and your community will know whether or not you helped stop Roy Moore. On Tuesday December 12th vote for Doug Jones for Senate.”…
But Highway 31 disagrees with Merrill’s assessment and refused his request discontinue it.
“The Secretary of State is distorting the intent of the ad,” said Highway 31 spokesman Muhlendorf. “Whether or not someone votes is public knowledge. The ad is not improper. Standing up and voting against Roy Moore on December 12 is critically important to the future of our state and we are going to make sure all Alabamians know that.”