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Down-ballot races will drive general election according to Secretary of State Merrill

Bill Britt

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Several hotly contested races will lead to a healthy turn-out for the 2018 General Election according to Secretary of State John Merrill. Merrill is predicting that 35 to 40 percent of registered voters will go to the polls on Tuesday, which translates into around 1.1 million ballots cast.

“Because we have some heavily contested Legislative races, like in the northwest part of the state with Johnny Mac Morrow and Dr. Larry Stutts there should be strong turnout in that area,” said Merrill. Morrow, a current House Democrat, is challenging incumbent Republican Senator Stutts in the 6th district.

Another race Merrill thinks will drive voters to the polls is the contest for an open Senate seat in Etowah County where Craig Ford, an Independent, is looking to defeat newcomer Andrew Jones, a Republican.

“We also have some heavily contested State House races in Jefferson County, as well as in south Alabama,” said Merrill. “And we have pockets that might pull some people out; otherwise, you’re just going to have people that come out because it’s the general and they have a chance to vote between the Democrats and the Republicans.”

Merrill believes that, overall, voters are treating Gov. Kay Ivey as if she is running for re-election to a second full term, which he says is reflected in campaign contributions and voter motivation. “Overall, people seem to be very happy and comfortable with Governor Ivey and her leadership,” said Merrill.

Secretary Merrill wants voters to know that the state’s election system is stable and secure. “Our system is as safe as it can be and our relationship with our public and private partners has never been stronger than it is today,” said Merrill. “Our public partners like the National Guard and Homeland Security has placed us in a strong position to ward off any bad actor that wishes ill or harm.” He says he stays in constant contact with Homeland Security to make sure his office is “overly prepared,” to ensure the security of every vote.

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