Category: Government

Voters Go to Polls Today for Republican, Democratic Runoffs

Voting at polls in Alabama has been relatively slow so far today. Secretary of State John Merrill downgraded his predicted turnout to 10% to 15%, which is slightly low for party runoffs but now extremely so, saying today’s voting is experiencing a “market downturn.”

In Jefferson County, Probate Judge Sherri Friday said 10% of all registered voters, or 51,235 people, had voted as of 4 p.m.

“That’s pretty good,” she said. “We have had no problems, and everything has been running fine. It’s been a boring day.”

Only two races are on the statewide Republican ballot, and no statewide races are on the Democratic ballot. Additionally, concern about going into public spaces remains because of rising COVID-19 cases in Alabama.

The race drawing the most attention is the battle between Jeff Sessions and Tommy Tuberville for the Republican nomination to the U.S. Senate seat. Also on the Republican ballot statewide is the runoff for a state Criminal Court of Appeals judgeship. Some other areas of the state have runoffs for seats in the U.S. House, but not in the Birmingham area. Jefferson County has one local runoff, for Jefferson County Treasurer, which is on the Democratic ballot. There are no Democratic runoffs in Shelby County and no local Republican races. Basic information about navigating the polls today includes:

—Polls close at 7 p.m.

—No crossover voting allowed. If you voted in the primary election March 3, you may vote only in the same party’s runoff. If you didn’t vote in March, you can vote in either runoff.

—Poll workers are wearing masks and gloves and polling places are equipped with disinfectant wipes and spray and hand sanitizer. Voters are asked to wear masks, but poll workers cannot require voters to wear masks.

See more information from BirminghamWatch’s 2020 Primary Runoff Voter Guide:

Sessions-Tuberville Showdown Tops Tuesday’s GOP Runoff

What’s on the Ballot?

Candidate Profiles

Voters’ Runoff Toolbox

Residents, Employees at Veterans Nursing Homes Test Positive for COVID-19

At the end of June, after completing a round of testing for the coronavirus at the state’s four veterans homes, the state Department of Veterans Affairs reported that all of the residents at the homes were “virus free.”

That is no longer the case.

The department reported Monday that after additional testing last week, nine residents and seven employees at the William F. Green State Veterans Home in Bay Minette tested positive for the coronavirus. So have seven employees at the Colonel Robert L. Howard State Veterans Home in Pell City, three at the Floyd “Tut” Fann State Veterans Home in Huntsville and four at the Bill Nichols State Veterans Home in Alexander City.
Read more.

Underground Fire Continues to Burn in Forestdale, Forces Residents Out of Their Homes

A fire burning underground in the Forestdale area for six weeks is sending noxious smoke into the neighborhood and forcing people to leave their homes.

Jefferson County is sending in employees to assess the fire, which is on property that once was a private, legal dump, and help determine a solution to put it out.

The fire at 532 Timber Ridge Drive started on May 30 and has covered the surrounding area with smoke, forcing people near the fire to seek living arrangements away from their homes. Read more.

Amid Record COVID-19 Cases, Near-Capacity Hospitals Prep For July 4th Influx

With COVID-19 patients already filling beds at a record pace, hospitals across Alabama are bracing for an influx of people infected at Fourth of July gatherings.

Statewide hospitalizations Wednesday were 1,110, the highest number yet, Dr. Don Williamson, president and CEO of the Alabama Hospital Association said Thursday.

The state also had 163 admissions, the highest one-day number of new patients due to COVID-19. The state was down to 206 intensive care unit beds available, which is 12% of capacity, the lowest rate yet during the pandemic.

“The concern is that all the numbers we are using to monitor the outbreak moved in the wrong direction,” Williamson said. Read more.

Sessions-Tuberville Showdown Tops Tuesday’s GOP Runoff

Jeff Sessions kicked off a weeklong tour of Alabama last week with a visit to a farmer’s market in Pike Road, a small town 14 miles outside Montgomery. The event marked the beginning of a final campaign push for Sessions, who is locked in a heated battle to regain the U.S. Senate seat he held from 1997 to 2017.

The campaign has been an uphill battle for Sessions, to put it lightly. Polls have consistently shown him trailing his opponent, former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville, by as many as 20 points. Now, with the July 14 Republican runoff election just days away, Sessions is making his closing argument: that his opponent is “weak.”

Tuberville is touting his endorsement by President Donald Trump, saying he stands with the president to “drain the swamp” in Washington. Read more.

Voter Guide
BirminghamWatch has gathered information you’ll need before heading to the polls or filling out that absentee ballot. Inside you’ll find:

2020 Primary Runoff Voter Guide: Your Source of Information for the July 14 Election

What’s on the Ballot?

Candidate Profiles

Voters’ Runoff Toolbox

Jefferson County Will Take on Improvements for Medical West Development

The Jefferson County Commission took a step toward supporting Medical West hospital’s making its new home in McCalla with the rezoning of four parcels bordering Interstate 459.

Today’s action rezones the property from A-1 agricultural to institutional-2. Medical West is an affiliate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Health System.

The rezoning came with repeated reference to the hospital having to remain in unincorporated Jefferson County. Read more.

2020 Primary Runoff Voter Guide: Your Source of Information for the July 14 Election

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill expects the state runoff elections on July 14 to go smoothly, despite the complications of having an election during a pandemic.

He’s predicting a voter turnout of 17% to 22%, which is higher than turnout in the 2014 and 2016 party runoffs, when 11% and 12% of voters, respectively, cast ballots.

That’s despite a thin ballot. Only two statewide races are on the Republican runoff ballot and none on the Democratic ballot. But one of those Republican races is the fierce battle between Tommy Tuberville and Jeff Sessions to capture the party’s nomination to the U.S. Senate. An appellate court race also is on the ballot, along with local runoffs in some counties. Read more.

BirminghamWatch has put together a Voter Guide with information you’ll need before heading to the polls or filling out that absentee ballot. Inside you’ll find:

What’s on the Ballot?

Candidate Profiles

Voters’ Runoff Toolbox