MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill confirmed Thursday that voter fraud investigations are underway in Wilcox and Perry Counties.
Although Merrill confirmed the investigations were launched prior to Tuesday's primary runoff elections over allegations of "intentional illegality over absentee participation," the investigation seems even more relevant in light of voter turnout figures.
Although Merrill's office estimated a 15 to 18 percent turnout for the runoff election, the actual turnout was 2 to 5 percentage points lower than he estimated. Only 442,364 of Alabama's 3,395,863 registered voters found their way to the poles, a total of only 13 percent.
Since voter turnout depends on so many factors, it can be tricky to predict or compare turnout rates. However, the runoff election saw only half of the 26-percent turnout of the primaries which carried many of the same candidates. Conveying even more contrast was the 2016 general election in which Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton faced each other, which saw a 62-percent turnout.
Despite such low rates, some counties saw surprisingly high turnout rates, specifically highly rural Perry and Wilcox counties. Perry County saw 36 percent of voters at the polls and Wilcox saw a 44-percent turnout.
To see the voter turnout information for each county, see the interactive map:
Merrill would not speak to whether the high voter turnout in these two counties gives way to the allegations of voter fraud, but said that such comments would be strictly speculation. He did say that his office remains focused on preserving the integrity of the voting process for all registered voters in Alabama.
Curiosities are not confined to these two counties, however. Merrill said his office is looking into 22 instances of election issues in Montgomery. Twelve issues were reported at the polling location at ASU's Acadome and 10 were reported at the Huntingdon College location.
Merrill said all probate offices utilizing the electronic poll book would eliminate human error in instances like these.
Voters can report suspicious activity or allegations of fraud at www.stopvoterfraudnow.com, an Alabama Secretary of State website.
Those without internet access can still report suspected fraud by calling 334-242-7200.