Prominent AL Democrat listed on GOP voting list, investigation underway

John Knight, others have issues in Tuesday runoff
Published: Jul. 18, 2018 at 12:58 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 18, 2018 at 11:38 AM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Alabama Rep. John Knight ran into an issue when he went to cast his ballot in Tuesday's primary runoff election.

"I was listed on the voting roll but I was listed as a Republican having voted in the Republican primary," said Knight. "I knew that was not correct."

Knight was running for State Senate District 26 against David Burkette.

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said Knight, a Democrat, went to the ASU Acadome to vote Tuesday and was told he voted in the Republican primary and could not vote in Tuesday's election as Democrat. Merrill knows Knight from working with him in the legislature and said he knows Knight is a Democrat.

"I contacted the secretary of state, I contacted everybody involved and I was allowed to vote," said Knight. "I went back and was allowed to vote because I was not going to give up my right to vote because somebody was manipulating the voting list."

Knight was eventually allowed to vote in the Democratic runoff, but he was not the only person affected. Merrill said 11 other people at the Acadome polling site and an additional 10 in other parts of Montgomery County had the same issue.

Knight said he was told that people in other areas could not vote for certain reasons.

"They were told that because they had a shirt on they couldn't come in and vote and that is totally unacceptable," Knight said.

Merrill said the others affected were allowed to vote a provisional ballot and voter credit for the candidate of their choice Wednesday.

At the polling site, Merrill said only certain people can access the voting rolls and only certain people can modify them. Only three people in each county can change the voting rolls, and they are the registrars. Not even Merrill himself can do it.

Merrill said the person responsible is a local board of registrar official in either Montgomery County or another county.

Merrill went to the polling site after the polls closed to find out what happened. He said there is a way to find out when the voting record was changed, who signed it and who changed it.

Merrill said he is in contact with Montgomery Probate Judge Reed about the situation and will send a team to the board of registrars office Wednesday to see if everything is where it needs to be.

Reed tweeted Wednesday morning that Knight's allegations against his office are misguided and factually incorrect.

"As the Secretary of State John Merrill has said, voting rolls cannot be changed by a probate judge or the probate judge's office," Reed said.

Reed says the rolls used in Montgomery's polling places are provided by the county board of registrars and not the probate judge. Reed continued by saying the poll workers can only act on the information they were given by the board.

"Once our office found out about John Knight's issue, we immediately took steps to remedy the situation, as we did with other citizens who had similar problems," Reed added, "I'm pleased that our great poll workers addressed this and John Knight was able to vote a regular ballot at his designated polling place."

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