Chapman: Authenticity of Perry Co.'s Turnout "Highly Unlikely"

By Cody Holyoke - bio | email

Montgomery, Al. (WSFA) -- It's your undeniable right as an American citizen:  casting a ballot to determine the politicians that make it to public office.

Last month, allegations of voter fraud throughout Alabama scarred that process.

Five weeks later, they're back.

State officials already have Perry County in the cross hairs after primary elections on June 3.

Now, municipal elections held June 10th are in the spotlight--after a witness drove to Montgomery to tell their side of the story.

"[The person told us] that votes are being sold in Perry County for '$40 and a rock.'  That's a quote.  A rock [refers] to crack cocaine." explained Secretary of State Beth Chapman.

It's a first for the system, according to Chapman.

On Thursday, Chapman's office revealed more information in regards to Perry County's municipal elections. The June 10th municipal election for the city of Marion showed a voter turn out of 59%, with 26% of those votes cast as absentee. "I will not say the numbers we are seeing from both elections in Perry County are not possible, but I will say that they are highly unlikely," Chapman says of the outstanding turnout numbers.

Residents in Perry County say the alleged activity is the reason some voters are on edge.

"You can't really feel like your vote is amounting to anything because somebody is canceling out your vote," said Carrie Ramey, acting chairman of the Perry County Democracy Defense League.

Still, state officials say they're working toward a solution.

"I don't know what it will take to put the fear in the people who are doing this type of activity, but whatever it is, I am certainly prepared to do it," Chapman explained.

Residents say the fear, however, is in the wrong place.

Even though authorities are investigating the elections, voter intimidation still exists, but there are some groups ready to take a stand.

"They're ready to see some honest answers.  They're ready to see a stop to illegal activity," Ramey said.

Though the wheels of justice are turning in portions of Alabama, Secretary Chapman says more witnesses need to come forward.

"We take it much more seriously than an anonymous phone call or a letter with no signature."

Chapman says 1,628 votes came in during the election in question out of a pool of 2,750 voters--a 59% turnout.

Paired with nearly 480 absentee ballots, Chapman says those high turnout figures are "numbers that would warrant a review."

Stay with WSFA 12 News for more developments in this story.