Primary election day: here’s what to know before you head to the polls

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Big decisions will be made Tuesday as Alabamians statewide head to the polls to cast their ballots in the Democratic and Republican primaries.

Voters will have from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. to choose between candidates is races across the state.

Here’s what you need to know before you head to the polls:

Valid ID

A voter can use any of the following forms of photo ID at the polls:

  • Valid driver’s license
  • Valid non-driver ID
  • Valid Alabama photo voter ID
  • Valid state issued ID (Alabama or any other state)
  • Valid federal issued ID
  • Valid US passport
  • Valid employee ID from federal government, State of Alabama, county government, municipality, board, authority, or other entity of this state
  • Valid student or employee ID from a college or university in the State of Alabama (including postgraduate technical or professional schools)
  • Valid military ID
  • Valid tribal ID

If you do not have a valid photo ID you  may vote only if you are identified by two election officials in the polling place as a voter on the poll list who is eligible to vote and the election officials execute an affidavit stating this.

If you do not have a valid photo ID and the election officials are not able to identify you, you must cast a provisional ballot.

Polling place

Not sure where you vote? You can find your polling place online here by simply entering in the address from which you registered to vote.

Sample ballots

Your ballot is based on your county and its associated political districts such as School Board, State Legislative Districts, and U.S. Congressional District. You may view the sample ballot for your county here.

  • Candidate profiles. Throughout the election cycle Alabama Today invited all candidates running for office in Alabama this year to complete a questionnaire we believe offers an interesting, albeit, thumbnail sketch of who they are and why they are running. Here are the responses we’ve gotten thus far.

Primary procedure

Primary elections are held by the political parties to select each party’s nominee for the general election. In the primary, separate party ballots are printed, and the voter must choose between the ballot with Democrats running against other Democrats or the one on which Republicans run against other Republicans.

If there are three or more candidates in a race, and if no one receives a majority of the votes cast, then a second primary election or runoff election is held between the two candidates who receive the highest number of votes in the first primary. The winner of this runoff election will be the party nominee.

Split ticket voting and the cross-over ban

Split-ticket voting is prohibited during the primary and primary runoff phase of the election cycle. Additionally, 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.

Write-in votes

Because primary and primary runoff elections are political party functions, a voter may choose only among those names the political parties place on their ballots. Therefore, the voter may not write-in a vote in a primary or primary runoff election.

Voter fraud

If you experience any issues at the polling place contact the Statewide Elections & Voter Fraud Hotline: 1-800-274-VOTE (8683).

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