Low turnout expected in race to fill Sessions’ seat

Published 8:45 pm Thursday, July 20, 2017

A special election to fill U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ vacant seat in the U.S. Senate is scheduled for Aug. 15.

Sessions vacated the seat when President Donald Trump selected the Selma-born senator as United States attorney general.

Now, 18 candidates — 10 Republicans and eight Democrats — will be on the ballot for voters to choose from when they head to the polls.

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There are no local candidates in the running to fill the vacancy.

“I expect it to be a low turnout because there’s just one contest on there,” said Suzanne Ingram, chief clerk in the Dallas County Probate Office. “There’s not a lot of local interest in one contest even though it is a very important position that we’re voting on.”

Ingram said even though there is just one contest on the ballot, it is important for people to exercise their right to vote, especially after a low turnout in the last election for the District 67 seat in the Alabama House of Representatives, which was won by Prince Chestnut.

“Polls are open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., and that’s a 12-hour day, so there is plenty of time to go vote,” she said. “This is for a federal U.S. Senate seat. We only have two Senate seats in Alabama, so it’s a very important position.”

Ingram said the deadline for people to register to vote in the special election is July 31. According to data from January, there are just over 31,000 people registered to vote in Dallas County.

Absentee voting has already started. Ingram said absentee voting began on June 21 and will end Aug. 10.

The Republican candidates are James Paul Beretta, Joseph F. Breault, Randy Brinson, Mo Brooks, Dom Gentile, Mary Maxwell, Roy S. Moore, Bryan Peeples, Trip Pittman and Luther Strange.

The candidates that qualified for the Democratic party are Will Boyd, Van Caldwell, Jason E. Fisher, Michael Hansen, Doug Jones, Robert Kennedy Jr. Brian McGee and Charles Nana.

Questions about registering can be answered by calling the Dallas County Board of Registrars at (334) 874-2534, and questions about absentee voting can be answered by calling (334) 874-1219.