Alabama Senate Race Between Roy Moore and Doug Jones Carries National Implications

Source: internet


Here is our coverage of election day before the results came in:

The results of a special Senate election in Alabama on Tuesday will carry immense national implications for President Trump and both parties, after a strange and ugly campaign left voters exhausted by the politicking and confused at the polls.

A victory by the Republican candidate, Roy S. Moore, who has been accused of sexual misconduct with teenage girls, would illustrate the enduring limitations of Democrats in the deeply conservative South. A win by his Democratic rival, Doug Jones, to fill the seat left vacant when the president appointed Jeff Sessions as attorney general, would shrink Republicans’ Senate advantage to a single seat, putting their majority in play.

• Mr. Trump, who ultimately gave Mr. Moore his full-throated endorsement, tweeted his support on Tuesday morning: “Roy Moore will always vote with us.”

• Mr. Jones, who cast his ballot early, will need strong turnout from black, urban and suburban white voters. Mr. Moore, who rode his horse to the polls, will need support from rural white voters. Read how Mr. Moore’s sexual misconduct scandal unfolded.

How did the G.O.P. end up with Moore? We take a look.

“For Republicans, it did not have to come to this,” writes Alexander Burns, one of our political reporters. Mr. Moore was never inevitable — read more in our outline of the decisions that Republican leaders made to bring things to this point.

Voting rights advocates report scattered complaints and confusion among voters.

As voters went to the polls, two officials with civil rights groups detailed reported polling problems at a news conference on Tuesday evening, include long lines, Twitter users posting misleading election information, and confusion over an option on the ballot allowing a straight-ticket vote in some localities.

Kristen Clarke, the president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said voting-rights advocates were still investigating the reported failure of some Alabamians to receive absentee ballots they had requested, but neither of the officials said that there had been any systematic effort to disrupt or sway the election.

Benard Simelton, the president of the Alabama state conference of the N.A.A.C.P., said he believed some of the problems could have stemmed from turnout issues. Ms. Clarke cited long lines and large numbers of voters reported in Birmingham, but was not specific on the sources of the reports.

Some people told hotline workers that the state had designated them inactive voters and required them to recertify their eligibility, which Mr. Simleton said could signal that voters who had sat out past elections were casting ballots in this one. Some of those voters, Ms. Clarke said, were wrongly told that they were ineligible to vote or could only cast provisional ballots.

In an earlier interview, John H. Merrill, the Alabama secretary of state, said the people who reported having been designated as “inactive” were eligible to vote, but had been placed on a list of inactive voters after they failed to cast ballots in several elections. He said they could update their personal information at their polling place. “It’s not even a hiccup,” said Mr. Merrill, a Republican. “It takes less than three minutes for them to update their information.”

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