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Special election for U.S Senate is today

The day has finally arrived for the special election between Roy Moore and Doug Jones for one of Alabama’s two U.S. Senate seats.

The polls open at 7 a.m. today and will remain open until 7 p.m. Photo ID is required to vote.

The Pike County NAACP has volunteered to transport voters otherwise unable to get to the polls.

“It’s important because it allows our citizens to exercise their right to vote and have a say in who is elected at the national level,” said Dianna Bascomb, president of the Pike County NAACP. “I think it’s very important for citizens to have a voice to who is elected in the state of Alabama. Some of our elderly and even some young people might not have access to transportation.”

Bascomb said the NAACP is attempting to raise voter turnout, which has been below 20 percent during the primary cycle of the special election in Pike County.

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill has predicted an increase in turnout from the primaries and runoff elections, projecting a 25 percent turnout today, based partially on an increase in absentee ballots.

Pike County Circuit Clerk Jamie Scarbrough reported at least three times as many absentee votes have been cast in the county than were cast in the primaries and runoffs.

The Senate race has become a national topic since allegations of sexual misconduct were leveled at Moore, the Republican candidate, in November.

Polls since then have shown Moore and Jones, the Democratic candidate, in a tight race.

Moore is the former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court before being removed most recently for ignoring the ruling of the Supreme Court on homosexual marriage, instead honoring Alabama’s constitutional amendment.

Jones is a U.S. attorney noted for prosecuting two Ku Klux Klan members involved in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing that killed four young girls in Birmingham in 1963.

Lee Busby, a marine veteran out of Tuscaloosa, has also declared a write-in campaign for the seat. Voters can write in Busby or another real person of their choosing if they do not want to support either of the two party’s candidates.

To cast a write-in vote, voters simply need to write the full name or first initial and full last name of the person they want to elect. The qualifications of office for a U.S. Senator will apply to this nominee, meaning they must be at least 30 years of age, must be a U.S. citizen and must be a resident of the state they would be representing.

Write-in votes will be counted only if the amount cast is greater than the difference between the candidate that receives the most votes and the candidate that receives the second-most votes. For example, if Roy Moore were to have 3,000 votes and Doug Jones were to have 2,500 votes, the total number of write-in votes must be more than 500 to be counted.

Residents seeking information on their polling places can contact the Pike County Board of Registrars at 334-566-1757.