Tuesday, April 16, is the primary runoff date in Alabama. However, fewer than half the counties will have a runoff at all. In the rest, voters can stay home.

According to the Secretary of State's Election Division, here are the 28 counties that will have runoffs on April 16:

Barbour, Bullock , Butler, Calhoun, Clarke, Clay, Cleburne, Conecuh, Coosa, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, DeKalb, Franklin, Jefferson, Lowndes, Macon, Marion, Mobile, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Pike, Russell, St. Clair, Walker, Washington and Winston.

In the remaining 39 counties, there are no runoffs at all. A voter whose county is not listed above can stay home and not miss anything.

Even in the 28 counties listed above as having runoffs, some of those runoffs are Democrat only, so Republicans can stay home. In other counties with a runoff, it is on the Republican side only, so Democrats can stay home. 

If this sounds a bit complicated, here is a way to simplify it:

If your county is not listed above as having a runoff, do not go to the polls on April 16. You can next vote in the general election on November 5. That's the big one. The real election. The primaries are only for nominating candidates for the general election.

Even if your county is listed above as having a runoff, still check with local officials to find out if your local runoff is Democrat or Republican. If the runoff is for your party, you should vote on April 16.

Sample ballots for all counties will be posted soon on the Alabama Secretary of State's website. That posting could be as early as March 19. By reading your county's sample ballot, you can see if there is a runoff for your county in your party.

Voters who voted in the March 5 Democrat primary can only vote in the Democrat runoff. They are not allowed to cross over into the Republican runoff. The same applies to those who voted in the Republican primary on March 5. They are only allowed legally to vote in the Republican runoff on April 16, according to the Alabama Republican Party.  

Because of the low number of runoffs and the high number of races already decided for party nominations, a light turnout is expected on April 16. It could be a historically low turnout.

The biggest runoff is in the newly-drawn second congressional district. There are both Republican and Democrat runoffs for an open seat in Congress.

The Republican AL-2 runoff is between former long-time state legislator Dick Brewbaker of Montgomery and first-time candidate Caroleene Dobson, a Montgomery real estate attorney.

The Democrat AL-2 runoff is between political consultant Shomari Figures from Mobile and State House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels (D-Huntsville).

Each voter in the 11 AL-2 counties must declare whether they want to vote in either the Republican or Democrat primary. They cannot vote in both.

Split ticket voting is never allowed in primaries or runoffs. In the November general election, a voter can cast a split ticket.

"A Democratic Republic is the only system that persists in asking the powers that be whether they are the powers that ought to be."

Jim Zeigler is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at ZeiglerElderCare@yahoo.com.

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