The Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a federal lawsuit on Thursday against Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill for "violating basic First Amendment freedoms by unconstitutionally compelling Alabama — and United States — citizens who want to register to vote to swear 'so help me God' in violation of their conscience."
"The Plaintiffs seek to ensure that the Secretary of State provides forms that allow individuals who are unable to swear ‘so help me God' to be able to register to vote," the lawsuit said.
Before filing the lawsuit, one of the plaintiffs had contacted Merrill's office, inquiring if one could register to vote without signing their name to an oath that includes "so help me God."
"There is not a legal mechanism to register to vote in AL without signing the oath as it is stated," Director of Elections Clay Helms said. "If you cross out a portion, the board of registrars in your county will reject the application and ask you to re-submit."
🔦 A French-born woman in Massachusetts earlier this year lost her appeal to remove the phrase "so help me God" from the United States naturalization oath. The First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the phrase is not unconstitutional.