MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - On Tuesday Alabamians will head to the polls to vote in their local republican and democratic primaries. However, the side they vote for will determine who they can vote for in a potential runoff.
A new law going into effect for the first time this election cycle will require citizens to vote for the same party in the primaries and any runoff. The aim of the new law is to prevent cross over voting, which could allow opponents to sway close races.
"It prevents you from selecting your candidate, your nominee, your party and it prevents you from selecting the nominee of the other party as well, and that's what crossover voting did. It allowed you to choose your candidate and choose the candidate you wanted to run against," Secretary of State John Merrill said.
Merrill said the new law is allowed because primaries are technically not controlled by the state but the political parties. Because parties are in control they can set rules on the process.
Merrill said the law will allow you to "change your preference" after each election cycle. A voter could vote republican in the 2017 primaries, and switch to voting in the democratic primaries in the 2018 primaries.
The law only applies to primaries and the potential runoff. The general election has no restriction on who citizens can vote for.