Was it fear of COVID-19 or nothing local on the ballot that kept voters away from the polls?
Either way, the pandemic-modified election had no hitches.
A March 31 primary runoff was delayed as the coronavirus took hold of the country and everyone was trying to figure the effects of the virus. Election officials took measures to keep the public safe — encouraging social distancing, wearing a mask and supplying every voter with a pen to cast a ballot. In the end, it appeared to work.
“We didn't have anybody call and complain,” Tallapoosa County Probate Judge Tal East said. “Everything appeared to have went well.”
Many thought absentee ballots would see a huge increase as some avoided the polls and the chances of contracting COVID-19. The circuit clerk of each county is in charge of absentee ballots. Tallapoosa County circuit clerk Patrick Craddock said he was surprised not as many voters took advantage of mailing in an absentee ballot.
“It wasn't as high I was expecting,” Craddock said. “It was probably higher than usual for primary runoff.”
Tallapoosa County has more than 31,000 registered voters. In Tuesday's Republican primary runoff, only 19 of the 1,270 registered voters in the Camp Hill box cast a ballot. Mary's Crossroad polling place saw 56 voters mark a ballot.
In the March primary, 8,019 were cast in which 34.45% of Tallapoosa County's 31,122 voters cast a ballot in Democrat and Republican primaries. Tuesday, 6,057 cast votes in the Tallapoosa County Republican primary runoff for a 19.33% turnout. There were no Democratic ballots to be cast in Tallapoosa County.
After an overtime season of campaigning, former Auburn football Tommy Tuberville bested President Donald Trump outcast Jeff Sessions across the state and Tallapoosa County.
Tallapoosa County easily favored the old ball coach, casting 4,742 votes for Tuberville for 78.46% of the total. Sessions received 1,302 votes in Tallapoosa County.
Statewide Tuberville was ahead of the former U.S. Attorney General and former U.S. Senator 2 to 1. Tuberville will face incumbent Democrat U.S. Sen. Doug Jones in November's General Election.
Tallapoosa County sided with incumbent Beth Kellum for Criminal Court of Appeals Judge Place 2 with 3,192 votes to Will Smith's 2,124 votes. Across Alabama, Kellum had a 10-point lead with 30% of boxes still out at Outlook press time.
With just over 6,000 voters casting ballots across Tallapoosa County, East said Tuesday night as results were coming into the Tallapoosa County Courthouse, there might still be things to learn ahead of November's General Election that appears will have a large turnout with U.S. president on the ballot.
“Our poll workers handled (Tuesday) well,” East said. “We will circle up with poll workers to see how we can improve.”