HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - 63 Madison County voters are accused of crossover voting. In other words, they voted for a Democrat in the Alabama Senate primary and then cast a ballot in the Republican in the runoff, which under the law has the maximum of 10 years in prison and thousands in fines.
Now, there's confusion over if and how those crossover voters would be prosecuted. In an exclusive interview, Madison County District Attorney Rob Broussard tells WHNT News 19, he's not been given any guidance by the Alabama Secretary of State as to how the process even works.
The DA's Take
“We have no information from anybody, and until we do, then we’ve got a lot of serious stuff we’re taking care of every day," says Broussard.
The DA says a list of potential crossover voters is not nearly enough to prosecute someone for a Class-C Felony.
“That’s all well and fine but that’s not the real world as far as somebody says your name is on a list you’re a potential felon," he says.
Broussard says, his office primarily prosecutes and doesn't have the resources to investigate voter fraud on their own.
"Until somebody puts an investigative file in our office that we review and decide whether to put it towards a grand jury, we’re not doing anything with it because we don’t have anything," says Broussard.
Over the phone, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill tells WHNT News 19, his office intends to help local District Attorney's investigate each case, but Broussard says he's skeptical.
“I don’t know how their office is set up but I would imagine they don’t have an investigative unit," he says.
Proving Intent Could Be Difficult
Even if the cases are prosecuted, legal analyst Mark McDaniel says the path towards a conviction would be challenging.
“At this point, there’s a lot of ambiguity here," says McDaniel.
The veteran attorney says, under Alabama Voter Fraud Law, the prosecutor would have to prove the voter acted intentionally.
“To prove intent, the person would pretty much have to confess and say yea I voted in the primary for the Democrat, and I voted in the runoff for the Republican because I wanted this Republican to run against this Democrat," says McDaniel.
Broussard says, anyone accused of crossover voting should know, his office won't move forward unless there's an abundance of evidence.
"We would study it carefully, and somebody who does not have any criminal intent, would not end up with an indictment on them," says the District Attorney.
Madison County Probate Judge Tommy Ragland tells WHNT News 19, he played no part in compiling the Madison County crossover voting report because it should be a political party issue, not something his office would oversee.
John Merrill says, his office received the crossover voting report from the Madison County Board of Registrars, but he hasn't reviewed it yet.
Merrill says his office will build investigative files for those they feel broke the law, and those cases will then be sent to District Attorney Broussard.