Alabama primaries could be open to similar MS Senate result - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Alabama primaries could be open to similar MS Senate result

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(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

It's possible that Democrat or Republican voters could be used in the other parties' run off elections in Alabama.

This voting issue received national attention after Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi defeated Tea Party backed challenger Chris McDaniel in that state's GOP primary runoff election earlier this week.

"Something like this has happened before in Alabama," said Secretary of State Jim Bennett.

He said it reminded him of the Bill Baxley and Charlie Graddick gubernatorial election more than 30 years ago.

"Mr. Graddick invited Republican voters into the Democratic primary, and they had a party rule saying that was illegal and ultimately they took the nomination away from Charles Graddick and gave it to Bill Baxley, which didn't sit well with voters who thought that maybe the election process had been manipulated," Bennett said.

If Alabama were to change its primary process to close it off to registered Democrats and Republicans, it would require the legislature to act and the governor to sign off on it.

"I am not for closed party registration, but I don't believe people who voted Democrat in the Primary should be allowed to vote in a Republican runoff," Gov. Bentley said in a statement Thursday. "I don't believe we should disenfranchise independent voters of the state by requiring people to register as a Republican, Democrat or Independent."

Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard echoed that similar sentiment saying "I believe we should lay out all available options, including closing our GOP run-offs to crossover voting, and study what works best in other Republican red states like Alabama."

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