Alabama’s top elections official warns voters against ‘crossover voting’

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Alabama is holding a runoff election Tuesday and the Republican ballot is the only one with statewide races.

The Alabama Secretary of State’s office is again warning voters not to crossover and vote in the runoff, if you voted in the other party’s primary.

Secretary of State John Merrill predicts between 15 and 18 percent of Alabama’s 3.3 million voters will show up to vote in the runoff. Turnout for the June 5 primary was 25 percent.

“We had 590,000 people that participated in the Republican primary,” Merrill said. “And that would put us at about 500,000 people coming back to the polls tomorrow.”

There are no statewide Democratic runoffs and voters are reminded crossover voting is illegal. A person can vote in the Republican runoff if they voted in the Republican primary, or if you didn’t vote at all.

But, “if you participated in the Democratic primary on June the 5th, then unless there’s a Democratic runoff on your ballot, in your area, then you are not eligible to participate in the republican runoff tomorrow,” Merrill said.

There was confusion in the runoff for the Alabama U.S. Senate special election in 2017.

“More than 700 individuals who were identified that actually crossed over and voted, Merrill said.

Knowingly casting an improper vote is a felony, but last time there were no prosecutions or evidence of fraudulent intent.

“The probate judges in those affected counties determined there was not enough evidence that would require additional investigation or potential prosecution,” Merrill said.

But that excuse likely won’t work this time, if a voter is crossing over.

“We still have those names and if those people start that process again, then one of the things we have, that we did not have then, is a pattern, a consistent pattern of participation in attempting to and actually violating the law,” Merrill said.