Marengo County sees record turnout

Marengo County voters turned out in record numbers Tuesday as 11,575 citizens cast ballots in the 23 local precincts.

“We had 11,575 voters. That is a record,” Probate Judge Cindy Neilson said of the turnout. “(We can attribute that) to the presidential election.”

Of the 11,575 voters, 6,736 cast straight party ballots. Straight ticket voters were most prominent on the Democrat side as 4,770 voters marked straight party. Republican saw 1,966 balloters vote straight ticket.

The county leaned toward Barack Obama in the presidential race with 6,154 voters (53.44 percent) supporting the incumbent. Mitt Romney pulled 5,321 local votes (46.21 percent). Gary Johnson pulled 15 votes while Virgil H. Good Jr. had 10 and Jill Stein had nine. There were also six write-in votes countywide in the presidential race.

Marengo County voters elected to stay with Terri A. Sewell as the 7th Congressional District Representative with 6,770 votes (60.80 percent) going her way as opposed to 4,354 (39.11 percent) that went to Republican challenger Don Chamberlain.

Aside from Republican Dan England winning the District 2 County Commission seat over Chris Petrey with 51.95 percent of the vote, Democrats largely won the day in Marengo County.

Democrat Bob Vance pulled 6,594 votes (58.97 percent) in the Chief Justice race whereas Roy Moore had 40.97 percent (4,581 votes). Democrat Lucy Baxley had 6,582 local votes in the race for president of the Public Service Commission while Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh had 39.69 percent (4,341 votes).

Marengo County voters also weighed in on the 11 statewide amendments that were on Tuesday’s ballot. Most notable were Marengo voters tendencies on amendments four, six seven and eight.

The proposed Statewide Amendment 4 would remove certain obsolete and discriminatory language currently found in Sections 256 and 259 of the Alabama Constitution, and related amendments. Marengo County voters were adamantly against the proposal with 7,198 votes (74.70 percent) opting against the measure while 25.3 percent were in favor.

Statewide Amendment 6 seeks to override the federal Affordable Care Act by allowing Alabama citizens an opt-out from any mandated healthcare plan. Marengo County votes were split on the measure as 4,408 (50.88 percent) were against the opt-out and 4,255 (49.12 percent) were for it.

Statewide Amendment 7 would allow unions to be organized by secret ballot rather than by employees signing a card. This proposal would add a new paragraph to Section 177 of the Alabama Constitution, which governs elections and voting. The new paragraph would guarantee individuals the right to vote by secret ballot whenever state or federal law requires voting to elect public officials, approve ballot issues, or designate employee representation by unions in the workplace. Marengo County voters were again split on the measure with 51.31 percent (4,349 votes) against the proposal and 4,127 (48.69 percent) in favor.

Statewide Amendment 8, which would move the state legislature’s compensation package to a fixed amount reflective of the median household income in Alabama, saw 4,589 Marengo County voters (53.37 percent) in favor and 4,009 (46.63 percent) opposed.

Marengo County also voted heavily in favor of amendments one, two, three, five, nine, 10 and 11.

Local Amendment 1, which fixes the salary of the Marengo County Probate Judge to a rate based on population rather than its previous setting at 90 percent of the District Judge’s salary, passed with 5,597 votes (68.41 percent) in favor and 2,584 (31.59 percent) against. There were 3,394 under votes on the amendment.

Tuesday also marked the final election for Neilson, who is retiring as Marengo County Probate Judge. She will be succeeded by Laurie Hall.

“This is my swan song,” Neilson said at the conclusion of an election day that began for her at 6 a.m. Tuesday.