Merrill dismisses claims of conflict of interest in running for U.S. Senate while serving as Alabama Secretary of State
Last week after Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill announced he would be seeking the 2020 Republican U.S. Senatorial nomination, some questioned whether or not Merrill as the state’s chief election officer could continue to serve in that capacity as a U.S. Senate candidate.
Merrill has maintained that he could and pointed to his 2018 reelection effort, in which he served as both the Alabama Secretary of State and as a candidate.
During an appearance on Huntsville radio’s “The Jeff Poor Show” on WVNN on Friday, Merill explained how elections in Alabama were decentralized as they are administered on a county level and that he has no direct involvement in the counting of actual ballots.
“That is to simply remind people that the Office of Secretary of State is the chief election official in the state of Alabama,” Merrill said.
“However, I think it is important to remember that all Alabama elections start at the local level. The probate judge in each county is the singular person responsible for election administration. Now, the probate judge is part of the canvassing board, which is made up of the sheriff and the circuit clerk. Those individuals will identify local poll workers at each one of our 2,499 locations around the state. Then those people are trained by the probate judge as the chief election official in the county. Then they administer the local election at the local level. Then they have a central reporting mechanism. When that takes place, they tabulate the results, and those are submitted at a central location. Then they are sent to the state to be certified and verified, and that happens according to the code of Alabama. So that’s the process.”