Crossover voting ban in place for primary

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, August 2, 2017

This month’s primaries for the U.S. Senate special election will be the first to implement a new law barring crossover voting between parties.

“However you vote in a primary, that’s how you will have to vote in a runoff,” said Jamie Scarbrough, Pike County Circuit Clerk and election manager. “The law is only going to apply to you if there’s a runoff. And it doesn’t mean you have to vote that way in the general election.”

When voters go to the polls Tuesday, they’ll be locking in which party’s race they want to influence in the runoff.

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This rule had already been in place with the Democratic Party, but the Republican Party had no such rule in place.

“The state parties have tinkered around with this a little bit as just a rule for their own parties, but it’s never been officially implemented until now,” Scarbrough said.

When crossover voting is allowed, members of one party can potentially ditch the party with which they align to influence the outcome of the other party’s runoff by voting in one party’s initial primary and crossing over to vote in the other party’s primary runoff.

Scarbrough said Pike County hasn’t had these kinds of issues prevalently though in the past.

“I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of problems,” Scarbrough said. “We’re actually very lucky in Pike County. We don’t see a lot of problems that larger counties face every election.”

The primaries will be held Tuesday, August 15, and a runoff will be held Tuesday, September 26, if necessary.

There are nine Republican candidates and seven Democratic candidates vying for the spot formerly held by Jeff Sessions, who vacated his seat to become the U.S. Attorney General.

The Republican candidates are Roy Moore, Mo Brooks, Luther Strange, Trip Pittman, Bryan Peeples, Randy Brinson, Mary Maxwell, Joseph Brault and James Beretta.

The Democratic candidates are Doug Jones, Robert Kennedy Jr., Will Boyd, Vann Caldwell, Michael Hansen, Charles Nana and Jason Fisher.

The general election will be held Tuesday, December 12. The deadline to register to vote has passed for the primary elections.