Despite a hyper-competitive U.S. Senate race underway in Alabama, Secretary of State John Merrill predicts turnout for this month's primary to be around levels comparable to past primaries with similar contests on the ballot.

During an interview with Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5's "The Jeff Poor Show," Merrill put that number between 28% and 32%, including both the Republican and Democratic primaries.

According to Merrill, a lack of competitive local races keeps the number on the lower end of the spectrum.

"[I] think we're going to have somewhere in between 28 and 32 percent of our eligible voters, which today ... is 3,640,520 of those folks going to the polls and casting the ballot for the candidate of their choice," Merrill said. "Of course, that is a combined Democrat and Republican primary participation number. That's one of the reasons why I arrive at that total because of what we have seen in similar election cycles where you've had a governor running for reelection, where you've had an open Senate seat, and you've had one or two congressional seats that are drawing attention and competition even though it is not really significant competition for those members at this time.

"Another thing, Jeff, that we've seen - which is why we may be on the lower end of that number - is there are not a whole lot of competitive legislative races that are out there right now, and there's not an inordinate upswing in those sheriffs' races where, as you'll recall in 2018, we had a number of sheriffs who were caught up in that food money conversation where people felt like some of our senior law enforcement in our 67 counties were taking advantage of that food allocation money. There were a couple of them who got beat because of that, and you're not seeing that. We do have some district attorney offices that are up. But the probate judges, the circuit clerks, the revenue commissioner, tax assessment, tax collector -- they're not up this time. And so, you only have once every 12 years when that cycle comes about when all those people are running at the same time. So, that may be another reason for our numbers to be in the 28-to-30% instead of the higher end, 32% up.

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