Voting is an American right that is supposed to belong to the people, not cluttered with rules or stipulations from political parties.
But last year the Alabama Legislature put into effect a law that is designed to prevent voters from crossing over in elections, such as a Democrat who voted in a primary voting in a Republican primary runoff. The law is one that should have not made it through the Legislature and to the governor’s desk.
Now, apparently more than 600 Alabama voters did just that. Their names are being turned over to the state attorney general and district attorneys by Secretary of State John Merrill.
Yes, the anti-crossover voting law is the law. Merrill says he just doing his job.
But everyone should hold up before the political process in Alabama becomes discouraging.
Both Democrats and Republicans, when in power, are always trying to turn their primaries into something more than intended. The parties do not have a special place in the Constitution. Most people will vote within the party of their choice, but if some choose to cross over in a runoff they should have that right.
Crossover voting is a sign of voter independence. Many people do not want to have their voting preferences dictated by a political party.
The reason Democrats and Republicans have traded power back and forth through the years across the nation, including Alabama, is because voters are generally independent. They may trend with one party for several years and then shift to another as views change.
Under the law, poll workers would be to blame for allowing voters to cross over into the primary runoff. Those workers should have been educated and trained in advance of any election. Granted, there wasn’t much time for training because the law came into effect during a special election. Voters certainly had little time to digest or understand the law under the time restraints. But the point remains that parties should not be setting such limited rules for voting. If we respect our nation’s Constitution and the freedoms established for the people, voters should be able to cross party lines where they may.
Merrill should drop any effort to send a few hundred people before the attorney general or district attorneys. If this ill-conceived law remains on the books in Alabama, people should have more time to understand its purpose and consequences.