Officials to keep eye out for repeat offenders of voter crossover law

Officials to keep eye out for repeat offenders of voter crossover law
The primary runoff election is over, and Alabama officials will be checking to see who, if anyone, violated the voter crossover law in both Tuesday’s election and the primary runoff in September of 2017.

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The primary runoff election is over, and Alabama officials will be checking to see who, if anyone, violated the voter crossover law in both Tuesday's election and the primary runoff in September of 2017.

The law went into effect that September and requires people to vote with the same party in a primary election and runoff election. The crossover law only applies in primary runoff elections.

In the September election, more than 300 people illegally participated in crossover voting. However, there were not any penalties given out.

"No probate judge in any one of the 67 counties indicated that their thought process revealed that there was not an intentional violation of the law," said Secretary of State John Merrill.

There have been two primary runoff elections since the law went into effect, which means officials can compare crossover voters in September with crossover voters in the runoff Tuesday. The Secretary of State could then see if there are repeat offenders.

"If you have repeat offenders now, there is a systematic pattern of violation, which means someone is either trying to make a statement, or someone is trying to violate the law intentionally," Secretary Merrill said.

He said it is extremely difficult for people in counties with electronic poll books to crossover vote. But in non-electronic locations, it could be possible to crossover vote.

"A polling official who may be complicit in the effort could work with the voter, or a series of voters, to make sure incorrect credit was given, at a particular time, so that individual could violate the law willfully and knowingly," he said.

Merrill said if this happened, it would be investigated and there would be proper charges. Penalties include a felony charge and $15,000 fine.

Copyright 2018 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.