The June 5 primary, one week from today, will be the first major, multi-office election in Alabama since the state’s new crossover voting ban went into effect. Translation: whatever party a voter chooses to vote with in the primary, they cannot change it in any runoff elections.
The ban, signed into law by Governor Kay Ivey last year, “helps the Democrats choose Democratic candidates, it helps the Republicans choose Republican candidates. It just prevents the cross-over voting so you get a pure general election with a Democrat and a Republican,” Auburn-Republican Sen. Tom Whatley told AL.com, last May.
“Voters just need to know that we want them to know and expect them to follow the law,” Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill told the Times Daily. “You must vote in the same party in this nomination election cycle.”
Alabamians who don’t follow the law face felony charges, over a year in prison, and a $15,000 fine. Merrill said his office identified 647 instances of crossover voting in last years’ contentious U.S. senate election; his office still has the names of those voters on the crossover list.
“If those people do it again, the same people, there is no misunderstanding about what they did,” he told the Decatur Daily.
The ban does not apply to the general election, only the runoffs. Voters can switch their party for the general election in November, and in any other elections after the runoffs.