What to Know Before You Vote Today


Mackenzie Edwards, Writer

It is time for the primary elections in Alabama to take place. Ages 18 and up will be able to nominate a candidate in a political party. When you register to vote in Alabama, you can choose only one political party to vote in. Alabama is a semi-open primary state. In a semi-open primary, voters can nominate a candidate in any of the parties regardless if they are affiliated to a party or not. Registered voters will use a party-specific ballot to vote. After choosing a nominee from one particular party, they must stick with that party till November. According to Act 2017-340 passed in 2017 by the Alabama Legislature, “a person is prohibited from voting in one political party’s primary election and in a different political party’s primary runoff election.”

For example, let’s say you’re a Republican and you make the decision to vote for a Democrat in the primary election. If the Republican senate race goes into a runoff election, unless you didn’t vote in the primary election or you voted for someone in the Republican party, you can’t interfere because you voted for someone in the Democratic primary. Why can’t you switch parties between primary elections? It’s simple. Parties would sabotage the votes. All the Democrats would vote for the worst Republican candidate in it’s primary, and all the Republicans would vote for the worst Democratic candidate in their primaries. In the end, we would have to choose between two candidates that are not qualified for presidency. Alabama passed this act to discourage cross over voting and to ensure voters stayed in their parties for the required amount of time. 

The primaries are a method that is used to indicate a voter’s preference toward a candidate they think will best represent them. The primaries help to narrow down the options leading up to the general election. For more information, check out the following links: