Write in votes will be tallied

Published 7:29 pm Monday, December 18, 2017

The 60 write-in votes cast in Dallas County and the other 22,754 cast across the rest of the state of Alabama during the special general election for U.S. Senate last week will be identified and documented.

The announcement was made Monday by the Alabama Secretary of State’s Office.

“This decision on whether to count these ballots was made based on Act 2016-450 which provides, upon a determination that the number of write-in votes for Office of United States Senator is greater than or equal to the difference in votes between the two candidates receiving the greatest number of votes for the Office of United State Senator,” Secretary of State John Merrill said in a statement.

Combined, there were a total of 22,814 write-in ballots. Merrill said the difference as of Monday between winner and Democratic candidate Doug Jones and Republican candidate Roy Moore for total votes received is 20,634.

Jones received 671,151 votes, and Moore received 650,436, according to unofficial results from the Secretary of State’s Office.

Due to there being more write-in votes, each one will be hand counted.

Merrill said those numbers could change depending on provisional and military ballots.

Each county’s write-in votes will be included in the final canvass of results once they are counted, according to Merrill.

Dallas County Probate Judge Kim Ballard, whose office oversees elections for Dallas County, said each write-in vote cast in Dallas County will be counted one by one.

“Fortunately, we didn’t have too many of them,” Ballard said. “We have to send them off to them, but we count them locally. We have to send the results to them.”

While Dallas County only had 60 write-in votes cast, several counties had 1,000 or more.

Baldwin, Jefferson, Madison, Mobile, Shelby and Tuscaloosa counties each had more than 1,000.

Madison had the most write-in votes with 3,446.

Merrill said each county’s results will be certified by Dec. 22.

He said a final certification will be done by the State Canvassing Board by Jan. 3. He said that could take place as soon as Dec. 26.