Election reveals people’s choice
By Rebekah Martin
Election results from Tuesday’s midterm election began rolling into the Event Center in downtown Opelika at 8 p.m., an hour after the polling places closed their doors in Lee County.
Voter turnout was projected by some to be around 40 percent, but that number fell short with only 30.6 percent of registered voters casting a ballot in the midterm elections.
Lee County Probate Judge Bill English said two things that might have contributed to the low voter turnout were the negative campaigning and the lack of perceived close races.
Elections manager Robert Garris said he was not surprised by the low turnout numbers. “I think it’s just the world we live in,” Garris said. “Voter apathy is nothing new.”
The majority of incumbent candidates managed to retain their current positions. Gov. Robert Bentley was reelected for a second consecutive term over challenger Parker Griffith. Despite his recent indictment on felony ethics charges, Rep. Mike Hubbard defeated democratic challenger Dr. Shirley Scott-Harris with 59 percent of the vote.
Tuesday’s election was the second test of Alabama’s newly passed law requiring voters to present a valid photo ID when casting their ballot. Chairman of the board of registrars, Becky Bailey, said she was somewhat surprised it was not an issue on Tuesday. “I didn’t hear of a single issue about it,” Bailey said.
There were five amendments on Tuesday’s ballot, with four of them passing with a margin of 12 percent or higher. Amendment two, that would allow for the appropriation of 50 million dollars from the state trust fund to improve National Guard armories, appears to have passed by a small margin.
English praised the poll workers who worked tirelessly to ensure Lee County had a successful election day. English said he thought all 340 poll workers deserved gold stars for their effort.
The results of the election are unofficial until the absentee and provisional ballots are counted and certified. Numbers for those ballots will be finalized by noon, Nov. 12 and will be certified by Nov. 14.