2018 Election

Polls Close Across the State as the Wait for Results Begins

A poll worker puts up signs at Sixth Avenue Baptist Church as polling places prepared to open at 7 a.m.. (Source: Solomon Crenshaw Jr.)

Polls have closed in Jefferson County and across the state; now the wait begins for results in the governor’s race, all the top statewide offices, the Legislature and county offices statewide.

Lines greeted many voters as they arrived at the polls today despite initial predictions of near record-low turnout.

Jefferson County Board of Registrars Chairman Barry Stephenson revised his prediction and estimates about a 50 percent turnout in the county.  Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill predicts about 40 percent turnout across the state.

The spokesman for Merrill’s office said results should start trickling in by about 7:30 p.m. They will be available here on the Secretary of State’s website.

BirminghamWatch also will be regularly updating vote numbers in the top state races and periodically updating local results.

Merrill’s spokesman, John Bennett, said no major statewide problems had been reported from the polls today.

However, poll workers in the Huntsville area are having issues the Madison County Probate Judge Tommy Ragland said could force a hand count of many ballots. He said many ballots could not be fed into readers because the paper ballots were swelled from moisture in the air.

Ragland said the unread ballots were put in emergency bins. He said he is hopeful they will have dried out by the end of the day and can be read by the machines.

If not, Ragland said, the ballots will be counted by hand, which could take until early Wednesday morning.

Merrill told the Associated Press he did not expect that issue to hold up election results, and he thought the ballots would scan once they were dry. Stephenson no reports of such an issue have been made to his office, though the first call poll workers would make if issues arose with the voting machines would be to tech support.

Voters across the country are casting votes today in the highly watched mid-term elections, in a political season that has churned up debate mostly about its potential effect on the Republican-Democratic balance in the U.S. House and Senate.

Alabama’s congressmen and women are on the ballot today, but one of those seats flipping from one party to the other would be surprising. Here, the focus is on the election because it will decide all of the top state and county officeholders for the next four years.

The governor’s race is top of the ticket, along with the races for chief justice, attorney general and all of the other statewide offices. Voters also will be choosing their legislators, judges, court officials, county commissioners, board of education members, sheriffs, district attorneys  and others.

In addition, there are four constitutional amendments on the statewide ballot that would: authorize display of the Ten Commandments on state property and at schools and other public places; oppose abortion and state that “the constitution of this state does not protect the right to abortion or require the funding of abortion;” alter membership of the board of trustees of the University of Alabama; and state that there will not be a special election to fill any seat in the Legislature that becomes vacant after Oct. 1 in the third year of a four-year term.

Jefferson County voters will decide on a proposed constitutional amendment that would lift the lid on property taxes in Homewood.

In Shelby County, a proposed constitutional amendment would make seats on the county Board of Education and the superintendent of education elected positions.