Lower Turnout, Higher Write-Ins Predicted For U.S. Senate Special Election

Monday was the last day for Alabamians to register to vote in the December 12th special election

The U.S. Senate race between Democrat Doug Jones and Republican Roy Moore continues to dominate local and national headlines.

This, due in big part to recent sexual misconduct allegations aimed at Moore. But, how will the controversy translate at the polls?

Secretary of State John Merrill says he is lowering his initial prediction for voter turnout on December 12th.

“With all of the things that have been introduced and the wavering support for candidates and the national media attention that has really discouraged a lot of people from being interested, I’ve dropped that projection to around 18 to 20 percent,” said Merrill.

Merrill’s initial expectation was as high as 25 percent of the state’s more than 3.3 million registered voters.

“It could go up if things continue on this plane that we’ve seen today where it really has not been dominating the national media as much.”

Merrill, however, does expect a possible surge in write-in votes.

“We’ve had a lot of inquiries about write-in candidates and how does someone write a person’s name in, are there any specific qualifications for a write-in candidate to be considered.”

Voters will find answers to those questions at polling locations.

“One of the things that we’ve done to make sure that people know that their vote will count if they choose to write-in a name, is an instruction sheet that will be available at each polling site.”

Merrill says there has been no sign of an organized campaign to write in a new candidate’s name.

“That has not happened at a statewide level,” said Merrill.

He reminds everyone to exercise their voting right.  Any registered voter can cast a ballot in the upcoming election – even those who did not vote in a primary.

There is still time to apply for an absentee ballot for the special election. Those ballots will be available until December 7th and must be returned by December 11th.  Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on December 12th for the special election.

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