Those who plan to vote in the June 5 primary election need to remember the state's crossover voting law will be in effect.
The law went into effect last August and was first instituted in the special primary election for U.S. Senate. A handful of crossover voting offenses occurred in the runoff election on Sept. 26, but those were attributed to human error and not malicious intent.
Limestone County Probate Judge Charles Woodroof said some voters are still offended by poll workers asking their ballot preference. Alabama is just one of about 19 states that don't require a declaration of party allegiance when registering to vote.
“Some people take offense and say it's a private matter, but in order to give them the proper ballot and proper ballot style, a poll worker has to ask,” he said.
The purpose of the crossover voting law is to prevent a Democrat from voting in a Republican runoff and vice versa. If a voter chooses not to vote in the June 5 primary, he or she can vote in any primary runoff they choose.
Poll workers have been instructed to write “REP” or “DEM” next to each person's name to denote what ballot he or she requested in the primary. Each voter's name will also be marked through. Woodroof said when polls are closed at the end of the night and results are printed, poll workers can compare the printed list with the sign-in list to ensure the totals match up.
When voter lists are reprinted for the July 17 primary runoff, party preference will be printed next to each voter's name.
Voters will also sign either the Republican or Democratic poll books, which will be sealed and given to the chairs of the local parties. And as always, voters will be asked to present a photo ID before they receive a ballot.
Woodroof said knowing what ballot voters receive is important in this primary because there are 13 different ballot styles — five Democrat and eight Republican. Three Democratic races will appear on all five ballot styles — governor, attorney general and secretary of state.
On the Republican ballots, there are 22 races that will appear on all eight styles. If there is no opposition in a race, it will not appear on either ballot.
Woodroof said voters would decide on 41 different state and local offices in the Nov. 6 general election.
A luxury that could take human error out of the voting process would be electronic poll books, Woodroof said. The county has used the poll books in prior elections as part of a pilot program, but can't afford the cost of purchasing 70 Apple iPads.
Woodroof is hoping by the next presidential election in 2020, the electronic poll books could be an option. He explained a portion of the cost may be reimbursable through the Alabama Secretary of State and state Department of Finance.
Woodroof advised voters to exercise patience on June 5, especially employed voters who cast a ballot before or after work. Polls will be open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
There are no new polling locations in this election cycle, though Woodroof said at a few churches, machines were moved to accommodate vacation Bible school. He added there would be signs visible to voters.
There are 25 polling places in Limestone County and a rapidly expanding electorate. There are 60,776 registered voters in Limestone County, compared to 48,931 four years ago.