Local voter among 674 in state who crossed over in runoff

Published 4:26 am Saturday, October 28, 2017

A Covington County voter is among the 674 people in Alabama being investigated for crossover voting in the Special Primary Runoff.

Earlier this week, Secretary of State John Merrill announced that his office had identified 674 people who voted in the Democratic primary and later voted in the GOP runoff in violation of the state’s new crossover voting ban. Merrill said he plans to send the names to the attorney general and district attorneys after local election officials check the list for errors.

The Special Primary Runoff marked the first time the state’s new crossover voting law was in effect. The law was passed by the Alabama Legislature earlier this year. It prohibits a person from voting in one party’s primary and then switching to the other’s runoff and makes violations a low-level felony punishable by more than one year in prison and a $15,000 fine.

Probate Judge Stacy Brooks said Friday that only one voter has been identified in Covington County.

“According to the Secretary of State’s office, there are 674 people in Alabama who may have voted a Democratic ballot in the Special Primary and voted a Republican ballot in the Special Primary Runoff,” Brooks said. “One of those individuals is a Covington County voter. We are currently investigating to see if this individual intentionally crossover voted, or if this is a computer error. I will provide the results of our investigation to the Secretary of State’s office in the near future.”

Brooks said many voters were confused by the new law.

“There were 4,638 votes cast in the special runoff election,” Brooks said. “Our poll workers did an incredible job to only have one possible cross over vote.”

Merrill has said he will release the names of the crossover voters, but is not prepared to do so yet. He has given the state’s probate judges until Nov. 6 to complete the process.

In Jefferson County, the most populated county in the state, there were 380 voters identified.