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Secretary of State John H. Merrill Provides Clarification on Roy Moore Campaign's Letter to the Media


December 5, 2017 - MONTGOMERY - On Friday, December 1, 2017, at approximately 5:10 PM, Alabama Secretary of State John H. Merrill received a report from an official at the Roy Moore Campaign team indicating that there were sample ballots that had been marked for Doug Jones, the United States Senate candidate for the Democrat party, that were being distributed from the Probate Office in Union Springs.

Secretary Merrill then contacted Bullock County Probate Judge James Tatum and asked him whether he was aware of this issue. Judge Tatum told Secretary Merrill that he was not aware of that and that he frequently walked by that table throughout the day. Secretary Merrill then asked him to check the table and he said he would be happy to do so, he then went to the table and discovered that approximately 10 to 15 ballots had been marked for Doug Jones. Judge Tatum then reviewed the remaining balance that were available and discovered those were the only ones that were marked. He removed them from the stack, properly disposed of them, and indicated to Secretary Merrill that he would check the offices across the hall from his office first thing Monday morning to verify no other sample ballots had been marked.

Secretary Merrill then contacted the Moore campaign team following the conversation with Judge Tatum and indicated that the problem had been resolved and that Secretary of State's Office would send guidance to all of the State's probate judges requesting they also check their sample ballot supplies to verify there was not a widespread issue.