Crossover Voting Ban is Just in Time

By Alabama State Senator Tom Whatley

Despite decades of success, Alabama Republicans have possessed a key vulnerability which
allows those outside the party to affect who we nominate to represent us in Congress, the
Governor’s Mansion, and even the White House. Outdated laws in our state have long allowed
Democrats to vote in GOP primary runoff elections – after already voting in their own
Democratic primary races. This process is called “crossover voting” and while the Republican
Party did everything they could to prevent this practice it was allowed under Alabama law.

That’s why I sponsored a bill in the Alabama Senate to put a stop this unfair practice. We passed
this bill and am proud to say it is about to make a difference in an election with national

On August 15, the GOP primary election for United States Senate resulted in a runoff between
Roy Moore and Luther Strange. That runoff will be held on September 26, and it will be the first
primary runoff election in Alabama history where crossover voting will be prohibited by law.

My bill, which Governor Ivey signed into law in May, safeguards our democracy and ensures a
fair nominating process. Although both Democrats and Republicans in Alabama have previously
banned crossover voting, that ban was unenforceable without a state law to back it up.

The September 26 runoff between Roy Moore and Luther Strange will be a fair contest with only
Republican voters choosing the GOP nominee for the general election in November. And that’s
the way it should be.

This law helps Republicans choose their own candidates and Democrats do the same without any
funny business or gamesmanship that can further erode the trust of Alabama voters. It also has
the potential to boost the number of voters in our primary elections, which maintain notoriously
low turnout levels.

And, to be absolutely clear, the law does not stop anyone from voting for the candidate of their
choice in any general election, regardless of party affiliation. When we get to the General
election, anyone – regardless of party affiliation or their primary election vote – can vote for
either the Democratic or Republican candidate.

Today, Washington Republicans hold a very slim majority in the Senate, and whoever we send
to Congress in November will play a critical role in cutting government spending, reducing taxes
and safeguarding our own Alabama values.

I plan on supporting the candidate who wins the GOP runoff on September 26 and I hope voter
turnout beats expectations. The Republican runoff will be the first race to which the crossover
voting ban applies, and I look forward to this law legitimizing critical, close elections for years to

I thank State Representative Arnold Mooney for carrying this bill through the State House,
Governor Ivey for signing it in to law, and Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill for so
quickly implementing the ban in time for such an important election.
I look forward to working with all of the above as well as Alabama Democrats to make sure our
elections stay free, fair, and accessible.

Senator Tom Whatley