Large turnout as Trump carries Alabama

Published 12:04 am Wednesday, November 9, 2016

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Alabama voters turned out in big numbers to pick Republican Donald Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton for president, and they also decided a host of other offices and issues.

People stood in lines for around an hour in some voting places on Tuesday as predictions of a strong turnout driven by a rough-and-tumble fight for the White House appeared to be on target. Few problems were reported statewide.

Winning by big margins in traditionally GOP areas, Trump easily carried the state’s nine electoral votes over Clinton, and other races and issues also were being decided. The ballot included four U.S. House seats plus a U.S. Senate race, and voters will decide 14 statewide amendments.

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Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said voting was heavy Tuesday and could set a record for the number of ballots cast.

After adding about 585,000 voters since January 2015, Alabama now has about 3.3 million registered voters. That’s more than ever before, and the increase could have contributed to the long lines and hour-long waits at some polling places Tuesday.

The jump in registration could make it tough for the state to eclipse the all-time record turnout in a presidential election of 76 percent set in 1992. More recently, voter turnout was 73.8 percent in 2008 and 73.2 percent in 2012.


Alabama’s four Republican U.S. House incumbents in contested races defeated their opponents, and Sen. Richard Shelby won easily over Democratic challenger Ron Crumpton. None of that was a surprise given the name recognition and vast amounts of campaign money available to the Republican incumbents, but one race was particularly interesting.

In the 2nd District of southeast Alabama, Rep. Martha Roby faced a backlash by Trump supporters after publicly stating she wouldn’t support the GOP nominee because of his recorded comments about grabbing women. Democrat Nathan Mathis hoped to capitalize on that dynamic, and Tea Party organizer Becky Gerritson was promoted as a write-in candidate. Unofficial returns showed Roby winning, but the Secretary of State’s office showed a write-in vote of nearly 10 percent. In the other districts, Rep. Mike Rogers of Jacksonville defeated Democratic challenger Jesse Smith in eastern Alabama’s District 3; Rep. Mo Brooks of Huntsville beat Democrat Will Boyd Jr. in the 5th District of north Alabama; and Rep. Gary Palmer won his first re-election bid in central Alabama’s 6th district by beating Democrat David J. Putman.


Fourteen constitutional amendments were on the statewide ballot, and the four that got the most attention all appeared headed toward passage.

The “yes” vote won on Amendment 2, which aims to protect money for state parks and open the door to private companies getting more involved in park operations. The proposal specifies that park money can’t be diverted to other government functions unless revenues exceed $50 million. It would also allow private entities to run facilities at state parks.

Voters appeared to approve Amendment 8, which guarantees that everyone has a right to work in the state regardless of whether they’re in a labor union. It mimics a state law already on the books.

Amendment 13 was headed toward passage to eliminate maximum-age limits for elected or appointed office with the exception of judicial offices. Trustees at public universities would be most likely to be affected. Voters favored Amendment 14 would prevent hundreds of local laws — from sales taxes to draft beer rules — from being tossed out because of a dispute over legislative procedures in Montgomery.