MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama officials on Monday certified results of the Nov. 3 election that saw a record number of absentee ballots cast during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The State Canvassing Board, which consists of Secretary of State John Merrill and representatives for the governor and attorney general, met briefly to certify the returns.
President Donald Trump easily won Alabama, capturing 62% of the votes. Republican Tommy Tuberville defeated incumbent Sen. Doug Jones, winning about 60% of the vote.
“The numbers broke specifically the way you would have expected them to, based on returns you saw in 2014, 2016, 2018, and now 2020— approximately 60-40 Republican to Democrat split,” Merrill said.
“People in our state seemed to vote for three purposes. Number one, they voted for the president. Number two, they voted against the president and number three, they voted for Senator Jones,” Merrill said.
Merrill said 318,000 absentee ballots were cast this year, shattering the previous record of 89,000.
The surge in absentee ballot voting came after rules were loosened during the pandemic. Normally, to vote absentee, people must swear that they are out of town or ill or working during polling hours. Merrill said this year people could vote by absentee ballot if they are concerned about the risk of COVID-19 at the polls.
Some Alabama lawmakers have said they will push to allow more early and absentee voting in the state, but the outlook for the legislation is unclear in the GOP-controlled Alabama Legislature.
A record number of 2.3 million Alabamians voted in the Nov. 3 election after increases in voter registration. However, the number was short of initial projections that estimated that more than 2.5 million people might vote and short of the 2008 record for the percentage of registered voters coming to the polls.
About 62% of registered voters voted in the election. More than 70% of registered voters cast ballots in 2008 and 2012, according to state records.