GOP runoff to be held Tuesday

Posted

It's nearly four months later, but voters in Walker County will finally get to have its Republican primary runoff Tuesday, also testing the waters on holding an election in the middle of a COVID-19 pandemic.

The runoff had been scheduled to take place on March 31, but Gov. Kay Ivey delayed the runoff until now due to the pandemic. Federal funds are being used statewide to provide masks and cleaning supplies at the polls in Alabama, and many voters took advantage of a state emergency order that allowed them to vote absentee if they worried about being infected at the polls. 

That same rule is being allowed in the municipal elections later this year, but no ruling has been made yet about the General Election in November. 

Also problematic was that social distancing disrupted campaigning in person, which practically was eliminated for many runoff races. 

Parrish is changing its polling place for state and city elections to the old Parrish High Gym, beginning with the runoff. 

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For more Election 2020 coverage from the Daily Mountain Eagle, visit www.mountaineagle.com/election2020.

Polls will open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. statewide as runoffs will be held across the state, particularly as Republicans decide the fate of the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate, between former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville. 

The winner of the Republican Senate race will face the Democratic incumbent Doug Jones.

In the Senate race, the Walker County results included Tuberville with 6,572 (42.36 percent), while Sessions had 3,963 (25.54 percent). Statewide, Tuberville led Session 239,173, or 33 percent, to 226,675, or 32 percent in a seven-man field, where Bradley Byrne got 25 percent of the vote. 

In the District 3 Walker County Commission race, James "Jim" Borden and D. Michael Pate will face each other in a runoff. In the March 3 primary, unofficial results show Borden led the voting with 1,315 votes, or 36.74 percent, to Pate's 1,065 votes, or 29.76 percent. Jason Richardson was third with 688 votes, or 19.22 percent, while former Commissioner Bobby J. Nunnelley had 511 votes, or 14.28 percent. 

District 3 Commissioner Ralph Williams did not seek re-election. No Democrats qualified for the position. 

That race will involve 11 precincts, including the following beats: Frisco (4), Oakman (9), Tutwiler (10), Goodsprings (11), Cordova (12), Union Chapel (14), Liberty Hill (20), Parrish (22), McCullum (36), and Pleasant Field (41) and the absentees. 

A state Court of Criminal Appeals Judge race in Place 2 will also be held between incumbent Beth Kellum and Will Smith. According to the Associated Press, Kellum led a three-person field for the criminal appeals seat during the March 3 primary but couldn’t get a majority. Jill Ganus, who was appointed to a Jefferson County district court judgeship in 2017, came in third. No Democrats are running. 

In Walker County, the results on March 3 for that race included Ganus, 2,646 (21.75 percent); Beth Kellum, 4,834 (39.73 percent); Will Smith, 4,688 (38.53 percent). 

For Tuesday's primary runoff, the deadline to return an absentee ballot to the absentee election manager is the close of business Monday, and the last day to postmark an absentee ballot is Monday.

Voter ID is now required in Alabama during elections and will be requested at the polls. A number of identification cards, including a driver’s license, is allowed for voter ID. Anyone without those forms of identification may apply for a free voter ID card from the state at various locations, including the Board of Registrars Office. Secretary of State John Merrill said anyone needing a Photo ID can obtain a card even up to the day of the election. 

Also, a voter who is physically disabled or over the age or 70 to move to the front of the line at a polling place upon request of the voter. Any voter can be assisted by anyone except the voter's employer or an agent of the employer, or an officer or agent of the voter's union. 

Voters can now take photos of their ballots to show who they voted for, but they cannot take photos of other people. Sample ballots can be used and one can wear political buttons or T-shirts, but sample ballots and political items cannot be left behind. Campaigning can only be done at at least 30 feet from the polling station - although a candidate can assist in marking a ballot. If a mistake is made on a ballot, one can ask a poll worker for another ballot. 

Although the deadline for regular absentee ballots has passed, one may apply for business and medical emergency absentee voting no later than 5 p.m. on the day before the election.

Democrats who have already voted in the March 3 primary will not be allowed to vote in the runoff due to the state's crossover voting law that has been in effect since 2017. Those Democrats who did not vote in the primary may vote in the GOP runoff. No restrictions are in place for the General Election on Nov. 3, which will also allow write-in votes, even for those without a challenge from another party.  

The Secretary of State’s Office can also be reached at 1-800-274-8683 or 334-242-7200. More election information from Merrill's office can be found at alabamavotes.gov.