Crossover voting law causing confusion

Posted 10/28/17

Judging from several social media posts that I’ve seen in the last week or so, a new cross-over voting ban in our state has caused some confusion.

In its last session, the Alabama Legislature …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

E-mail
Password
Log in

Don't have an ID?


Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.

Non-subscribers

Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.

Crossover voting law causing confusion

Posted

Judging from several social media posts that I’ve seen in the last week or so, a new cross-over voting ban in our state has caused some confusion.

In its last session, the Alabama Legislature passed a law prohibiting cross-over voting. The law prohibits people from casting a ballot for one party in the primary and then “crossing over” to vote in the other party’s runoff. Democrats in the state have had a rule against cross-over votes for years, but the law made it official for them and for Republicans as well.

Basically, if you vote in a Democratic primary, you can no longer turn around and vote in a Republican runoff from that vote or vice-versa. If you did cross over to vote in an opposite runoff, it would be against the law and you could be prosecuted.

According to numbers recently released by al.com, there were between 10 and 19 people in Walker County who crossed over in the recent GOP runoff between Roy Moore and Luther Strange. I would guess most of those were accidental, not realizing the law had changed.

I personally think the cross-over ban is a bit much. Not that many people cross over any way. One scenario where I could see it hurting Independent voters such as myself is if my first choice was a Republican who got defeated in the primary, but my second choice was a Democrat who had made it to a runoff. In that case, I would want to be able to vote in the Democratic runoff to support my second favorite overall candidate. With the new law, it takes that ability away. In a political atmosphere where we are constantly hearing about rights being taken away, there wasn’t much of a stink at all raised when our lawmakers in Montgomery made this little change in voting rights.

There has been some confusion concerning the law that voters can only vote in a general election for the same party they voted for in the primary. That is not the case. The law only impacts primary runoffs.

There will be a general election in Alabama for the open U.S. Senate seat on Dec. 12. The Republican candidate is Roy Moore, while the Democratic candidate is Doug Jones. If you are a registered voter in Alabama, you are eligible to vote for either of those candidates, no matter what your party affiliation is or whether or not you voted in the primary or the runoff as a Democrat or a Republican.

If anyone calls you from either side and says you cannot vote as you wish, it should be reported to the probate judge and to the secretary of state.

The most important thing is to actually go vote.

Turnout for Walker County was higher than any other county in the state for the primary in August, but that was only because the proposed 1-cent sales tax hike was also on the ballot. Our voting numbers were back down in the runoff, and I expect they will be low for the general election in December.

With such a low percentage of people deciding who our representatives are, it should be no surprise that the U.S. Congress is filled with more clowns than any circus could ever imagine employing.

James Phillips is editor and publisher of the Daily Mountain Eagle. He may be reached at 205-221-2840 or james.phillips@mountaineagle.com.