Nearly 700 Alabama voters could be facing up to 10 years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines. Their crime? Voting in the wrong runoff election. Just seven lines of legal code adopted last year, makes all the difference. It’s the Crossover Voting Ban, that makes it illegal for someone who votes in one party’s primary to vote in the runoff of another party. The first test of the law was the recent special election primary to replace Jeff Sessions’ Senate Seat. Over the weekend, Secretary of State John Merrill released the number of violators of the law. Jefferson County leads the state with 380 people accused of crossover voting. Madison County had the second most, with 63 reports. The next highest was Montgomery County with 34. In all, 674 people are accused of breaking the law.
“It’s the first time we did it, and he expected perfection because he didn’t tell people how it was going to work,” says Tom Ryan, the Chairman of the Madison County Democratic Party.
Ryan says Secretary Merrill failed to effectively do his job – to properly educate voters. “If he had property educated the election officials that person would not have been allowed to vote, or at most, only been allowed to vote a provisional ballot. None of those provisional ballots were counted,” says Ryan.