In last month's State House District 2 Republican primary, third-place finisher Kimberly Butler finished 14 votes behind second-place finisher Limestone County Commissioner Jason Black.

However, since then, Butler maintains she had discovered voters who had not been allowed to vote in the HD2 primary despite having been assigned that district in last year's legislative reapportionment and argued that could have been the difference in her making a runoff contest against former Limestone County Commissioner Ben Harrison, who had earned a plurality of the votes in that contest.

Even with the questions looming, last Tuesday's runoff went on as scheduled, with Black losing to Harrison by 11% of the total votes.

During an appearance on Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5's "The Jeff Poor Show," Secretary of State John Merrill, Alabama's top election official, acknowledged the problem but said the dispute was "still under investigation."

"It's still under investigation exactly what occurred," Merrill said. "What we do know is there were registrars that did not finish the task that they were assigned to finish on reassigning people to be in different districts after reapportionment occurred. And as I was speaking to our director of elections today, in spite of the fact that we take people's word for it, the 201 registrars, that they've done their work. Then when we do a spot check to make sure that they have updated it. We're still at the mercy of those 201 people in 67 counties as far as doing their work is concerned, making sure they're where they're supposed to be and fulfilling their commitment and their obligation related to the administration of the election. And that part is the reassignment of people in particular voting blocks and voting areas.

"As I said, those are still under investigation, but all of them will be dealt with in a timely fashion as we continue to move forward."

Merrill vowed any other problems would be resolved before the November 8 general election.

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