On Tuesday, Alabama voters will have the opportunity to cast a ballot in the primary elections. Alabamians will choose their preferred presidential candidate, electors aligned with that candidate and favored candidates in down-ballot races.
Most of the action will take place on the Republican side simply because Alabama is a deeply red state. Donald Trump will emerge as the presidential nominee; voters will simply determine which delegates will represent the state at the Republican convention.
The real races for local voters are the U.S. Senate, 2nd Congressional District and Houston County school superintendent.
A constitutional amendment referendum also will appear. It would change the state school board from an elected body to a panel appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state Senate, as well as change the title of state superintendent and the name of the state school board. A “yes” vote would favor the change; a “no” vote would leave the board seats as elected positions and retain the name of the board and superintendent.
Many voters may choose to forego voting on Tuesday for a variety of reasons. We urge them to reconsider. Voting is a right and a responsibility, and should not be taken for granted.
There’s also a relatively new wrinkle to consider — Alabama’s cross-over voting ban.
Before a 2017 law went into effect, some voters would have a strategy in mind when heading to the polls. They’d determine who they wanted to ultimately win the office, and vote in that candidate’s primary. If the opposing party had candidates thrown into a runoff, the voter would “cross-over” and vote in the runoff, choosing the candidate their original choice would be most likely to defeat.
For many years, that practice was legal in Alabama. It also was unfair, a bit of chicanery of the sort employed by underhanded politicians.
Now it’s illegal, and carries a significant penalty, and if the secretary of state’s reaction to more than 600 Alabama voters suspected of cross-over voting in 2017 is any indication, violations will be pursued with the same fervor as traditional acts of voter fraud.
That makes Tuesday’s event fairly simple: Make the effort to go to the polls, choose a lane and stay in it.