In May's primary elections, only 23% of voters participated. A month later, in June's primary runoff, a three-decade low 13% showed up to vote.

According to Secretary of State John Merrill, if the Alabama Legislature follows the recommendations of the Alabama Republican Party executive committee to institute a closed primary system, that number could be even lower.

During an appearance on Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5's "The Jeff Poor Show," Merrill warned some could opt to sit out a primary election because they do not want to be identified as a "registered Democrat" or a "registered Republican."

"I definitely think it is a possible risk," Merrill said. "And I also think it will reduce voter turnout. I think that a number of people will be predisposed to sitting out the primary because they don't want to be recognized as registered Democrats or registered Republicans. And I think it will actually restrict voter participation in the primaries."

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