No crossover voting reported in Dallas County

Published 9:08 pm Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Monday was the deadline for 41 Alabama counties to report crossover voters to the Secretary of State’s Office for the Sept. 26 runoff to name a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate.

Dallas County was among those counties, but Probate Judge Kim Ballard said there were no crossover voters during the election.

“We had some [voters] that stuck out, but no violations,” Ballard said Tuesday. “It was less than half a dozen. For different reasons, we had questions about them, but they were all okay.”

In October, Secretary of State John Merrill said his office had identified 674 people who voted in the Democratic party primary that also voted in the Republican party primary runoff on Sept. 26 between Luther Strange and Roy Moore.

According to Merrill, those 674 voters were marked on paper as voting for a Democratic candidate in the Aug. 15 primary and then voting for a Republican candidate on Sept. 26, which is now illegal.

The Alabama Legislature passed an act in the spring that prohibits voters from voting in one party’s primary and in another party’s runoff. The law was enforced for the first time during this runoff. It was passed to prevent voters from one party from interfering in another’s runoff.

In a news release issued Monday from the Secretary of State’s Office, Merrill said he was awaiting reports from 41 different counties across the state. Merrill said reports returned from county offices would be reviewed starting Tuesday. He said he expected to make a statement on the status of the review sometime later this week.

Ballard said there were measures in place in Dallas County for poll workers to prevent crossover voting.

“Now, we mark the voters’ list as to the way the voter votes in the primaries, either Democrat or Republican,” Ballard said. “Then, when they present themselves at the poles, we act accordingly.”

While some counties had issues with crossover voting, Ballard said there were none in Dallas County.

“Of course, we didn’t have any problems when you have nobody that tried to do it,” Ballard said.

There were 2,383 votes cast in the Sept. 26 primary runoff out of a total of 28,106 registered voters in Dallas County.

According to The Associated Press, Jefferson County had the largest amount of possible crossover votes. Probate Judge Alan King said none of the 380 names identified in the county were crossover votes.

Merrill said any names that are verified as crossover voters would be turned over to local prosecutors.

Dallas County District Attorney Michael Jackson said Tuesday there are much worse things going on in Dallas County, such as violent crimes, that need attention.

“We’ve got way more serious issues in Dallas County with these violent criminals than whether somebody crossed over and voted,” Jackson said. “We should be encouraging folks to vote, not discouraging them.”

Jackson said he would rather see some kind of civil penalty enforced for crossover voters instead of jail time.