The names of Alabama voters who crossed party lines to vote in last month’s Republican Senate runoff will be given to prosecutors, the state’s election chief said Friday. Secretary of State John Merrill said his office has 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 move signals a hardline approach to the new state law — used for the first time in the U.S. Senate runoff — that adds fraudulent crossover voting to the list of other felony voting crimes, such as voting twice. Merrill said it was the “right thing” to report violations but noted that it is prosecutors’ decision on whether to pursue charges.
The move drew criticism from those who said voters could face prosecution for an honest mistake as the ban came into effect for the first time, but Merrill said it was his responsibility to report possible violations.
“It’s the law. We’re going to enforce the law. We’re not bullying anybody. We’re enforcing the law,” Merrill told The Associated Press.
Alabama Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy Worley said the ban was new in this election and you “would automatically have more problems.”