Crossover voting banned

Published 3:00 am Thursday, June 1, 2017

Gov. Kay Ivey signed a law last Monday that bans “crossover voting” in Alabama. So what does that mean for local voters?

Basically, it means once someone has voted in one party’s primary, he can’t vote in the other party’s primary runoff.

“This helps the Democrats choose their candidates and Republicans choose Republican candidates,” said Probate Judge Wes Allen.

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The new law specifically protects Republican primary runoffs from being swayed by Democrat voters as the Alabama Democratic Party already had a policy in place barring citizens that voted in the republican primary from voting in the Democratic runoff.

“In the past, if you voted in the Republican primary you could not cross over and vote in the Democratic primary runoff – you’d have to stay in the same party,” Allen said. “The Republican party never had that rule.”

The new law will be in effect for the August 15 primaries for the special election to fill the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by Jeff Sessions, Allen said.

So if someone chooses to vote on the Democratic ticket in the primaries that day, he will no longer be able to come back for the runoff on September 26 and vote in the Republican runoff.

The rule will likely be put to use, as the number of candidates running for Session’s seat makes a runoff probable. There are currently 10 Republican candidates vying for the spot and eight Democrats in the race.

The election cycle will conclude December 12 with the Republican and Democrat candidates facing off in the general election and the next election cycle will begin in June 2018, with primaries for Alabama’s executive offices, such as governor and state senators, representatives; seven seats in the U.S. House of Representatives; and other county-level offices, including probate judge and district judge.