Shelby County sees 20-percent voter turnout in U.S. senate primaries

Almost 30,000 Shelby County residents cast their ballots at the 2017 United States Senate special primary election for Alabama on Tuesday, Aug. 15. Out of 141,014 registered voters, a total of 29,001 ballots were cast, leading to a 20.57-percent voter turnout in the county. In Shelby County, a total of 5,172 Democratic and 23,829 Republican ballots were cast.

For the most part, the election results in Shelby County were similar to the statewide results. Out of eight Democratic candidates, former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones received 3,710 votes from Shelby County. Incumbent Alabama State Sen. Luther Strange received 9,244 Republican votes and former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore received 7,080 Republican votes from Shelby County.

While the majority of Shelby County voters cast Republican ballots, many had different perspectives on each of the candidates and their platforms.

Resident J.V. Jones voted for Moore. He said he predicts that Moore will win the runoff election, despite the controversy surrounding Moore, which he believes is caused by coverage from a biased media.

“The news is always biased towards the Democrats,” J.V. Jones said. “I think that Moore will come out on top.”

J.V. Jones also cited his support for Moore’s religious views.

“He has stood on those beliefs,” J.V. Jones said.

Resident Karen Jensen, who is originally from Chicago, said she doesn’t always vote for the Republican candidate, but voted for Strange in this election.

“I felt that he was a better candidate because he respects separation of church and state and he had the courage to prosecute former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard,” Jensen said.

Marsha Sturdevant, who identifies as a Democrat, said she voted for Doug Jones because she said he has a reputation for “fighting for the underdog.”

“He has a history of fighting for what’s right,” Sturdevant said. “We need someone in the Senate who is willing to represent all Alabamians.”

Sturdevant cited Doug Jones’s role in the prosecution of the Klu Klux Klan members who were found guilty for the bombing on 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.

“He prosecuted people who we never thought would be convicted decades afterward,” Sturdevant said. “He’s a hero.”

While resident Jerry Austin didn’t vote in this primary election, he said he intends to vote for Strange in the runoff election.

“This is one of the few times in my life that I didn’t vote,” Austin said. “I would not have voted for Roy Moore because he brings too much publicity to the state, and I didn’t know enough about the rest of the candidates.”

Because no republican candidate received over 50 percent of the vote in the statewide election, Strange and Moore are set to face off in a runoff election on Sept. 26. Doug Jones, who received 65.6 percent of the statewide vote, will advance directly as the Democratic candidate in the U.S. Senate general election on Dec. 12.