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Seven under investigation for crossover voting in Franklin County

Of the 674 Alabama voters who crossed over party voting between the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in August and the Republican runoff in September, seven are Franklin County residents, according to Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill.

Merrill's office sent names of voters in each county who crossed over between the primary and runoff for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions earlier this year. Crossover voting is now a felony in Alabama, punishable by up to a $15,000 fine and a prison term of a year and a day or longer. Additionally, a felony conviction would cause the individual to lose his or her voting rights as well.

The list of the seven Franklin County voters was turned over to Probate Judge Barry Moore's office. Moore will be charged with verifying that these voters actually voted in the August Democratic primary and the September Republican primary.

Once that information is verified, the probate judge will then take the information to the local district attorney or the attorney general to determine whether and what level of commitment of prosecution will take place,” Merrill said.

Moore said Tuesday his office had received the seven names and the investigation into how or whether these voters actually engaged in crossover voting was underway.

We're not finished investigating that. Once the investigation is complete, we will report that information back to the secretary of state's office,” Moore said.

Jefferson County had the most instances of crossover voting, with 380, while Lauderdale and Colbert Counties had no voters on the crossover list.

Merrill said safeguards were in place at polling places to prevent crossover voting from taking place, but some poll workers did not follow procedure during the runoff election between Roy Moore and Luther Strange.

The safeguards should have occurred at when the poll workers checked on the sign in sheet and each voter should have had a DEM or REP beside his or her name,” Merrill said. “That didn't happen everywhere. We found 16,000 instances where it didn't happen but were were able to correct it before the runoff and get that number down to around 1,000 before the runoff.”

Moore said the investigation would determine the cause of the crossover voting.

Once we go through the investigation we'll be able to answer questions about whether it was human error or what it was. Right now, we don't yet know,” Moore said. “We will have to look at it and see what prompted those problems and address issues to correct that.”

Merrill said it would not be his decision whether these individuals are prosecuted and that he was simply following the law by submitting the crossover voter names to law enforcement.

The only thing I can do is introduce the information and identify people culpable at some level. The determination of culpability is ultimately left up to the district attorney or attorney general,” Merrill said. “All we know today is our records show these people marked a Democratic primary ballot and a Republican runoff ballot. It's just a matter of enforcing the law.”

21 of Alabama's 67 counties had no crossover voters reported. 12 counties had only one name on the list. Lawrence County had three crossover voters. There were no reported crossover voters in Marion or Winston counties.

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