Merrill: 'Extraordinarily high' voter turnout played role in election

Merrill: 'Extraordinarily high' voter turnout played role in election
(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Secretary of State John Merrill says voter turnout was "extraordinarily high" and played a major role in Tuesday's special election.

According to Merrill, more than 1.3 million registered voters cast their ballots, breaking every record for a special election in the history of the state. Merrill says an estimated 33 to 35 percent of Alabama's 3.3 million registered voters cast a ballot, more than the expected 25 percent turnout.

"Forty percent of the people participating is really phenomenal, that's basically what you would get in a regular general election for the state of Alabama, and I think that people just wanted to make sure their voices were heard and their votes were counted," Merrill said.

Some segments of voters did better than expected.

"We've seen a little upsurge in absentee participation, which is why we were very comfortable in maintaining our 25 percent projection. And we think there will be a number of people who will actually cast write-in votes. And of course, those write-in votes will be collected and will be acknowledged," Merrill said earlier Tuesday.

In Montgomery County alone, Probate Judge Stephen Reed says voter turnout was an "astounding" 44 percent.

Merrill says he knows around the country the perception is that Alabama is not a voter-friendly state, but he says this election is going to change that.

"People are entitled to their own opinion, but they're not entitled to their own facts and the fact are that since Jan. 19, 2015, when I became Secretary of State, we've registered 865,107 new voters in the state of Alabama. We now have 3,328,117 registered voters in Alabama," Merrill said. "Yesterday, we broke every record for a special election in the history of the state and today, we have a new United States senator going to Washington, after certification occurs. So, people can say what they want, and they will, but I think it's important to look at the facts and to evaluate the facts for what they are as we continue to move forward and make Alabama all it can be."

On Wednesday, officials will begin counting the nearly 23,000 write-in votes that were cast in the election.

According to the state, the highest voter turnout in our area was Perry County with 48.7 percent, while the lowest was Lee County with 32.09 percent. The county with the biggest Moore win was Geneva County with 79.72 percent. The biggest win for Jones was in Macon County with 88.14 percent.

Below is a county-by-county breakdown of voter turnout in the WSFA 12 News viewing area:

  • Autauga: 38.32 percent
  • Barbour: 38.35 percent
  • Bullock: 45.53 percent
  • Butler: 42.36 percent
  • Chilton: 35.42 percent
  • Coffee: 36.52 percent
  • Conecuh: 39.84 percent
  • Coosa: 41.52 percent
  • Covington: 35.09 percent
  • Crenshaw: 37.66 percent
  • Dale: 34.87 percent
  • Dallas: 44.88 percent
  • Elmore: 41.34 percent
  • Geneva: 37.84 percent
  • Henry: 39.20 percent
  • Houston: 34.18 percent
  • Lee: 32.90 percent
  • Lowndes: 47.14 percent
  • Macon: 37.70 percent
  • Marengo: 46.01 percent
  • Montgomery: 44.05 percent
  • Perry: 48.70 percent
  • Pike: 37.58 percent
  • Tallapoosa: 40.19 percent
  • Wilcox: 46.89 percent

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