Midterm turnout low, Amendment too close to call

Nov 6, 2014

The turnout for Alabama's election Tuesday was lowest since Alabama became a two-party state. Nearly complete election results indicate that about 41 percent of Alabama's nearly 2.9 million active registered voters participated. The turnout for gubernatorial elections in Alabama had ranged between 51 percent and 58 percent since 1986, when Alabama elected its first Republican governor since Reconstruction. Secretary of State Jim Bennett, the state's chief election official, had predicted a lower-than-normal turnout of 48 percent to 50 percent because of the lack of hot races at the top of the ticket, but participation fell below what he had expected. Bentley polled 63.6 percent of the vote in the governor's race, which was the largest winning margin for any modern-day Republican governor in Alabama. Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard is beginning his quest for another four years as speaker. House Republicans will meet today to discuss leadership positions. The full House of Representatives will elect a speaker when lawmakers convene in January for an organizational session. The powerful Republican was indicted last month on 23 charges accusing him of using his offices for financial gain. Hubbard has maintained his innocence and called the charges politically motivated. Election Day has come and gone but one proposed state constitutional amendment has yet to be decided. Alabama Public Radio's Ryan Vasquez has more on the amendment to fund Alabama National Guard armories from state trust fund money. Nearly complete but unofficial returns show Amendment 2 got 50.4 percent of the vote Tuesday. But the lead of 7,810 votes out of more than 920,000 cast made the outcome too close to call. The amendment would let 50 million dollars from the Alabama Trust Fund to be used for constructing and maintaining armories. The Association of County Commissions of Alabama opposed the measure. It says the proposal would have a devastating effect on revenues that counties get from the fund. Supporters say the amendment is vital because the Guard needs new and updated facilities. They also say additional money could help the state obtain more in federal funding that matches state expenditures. I'm Ryan Vasquez, APR News. The Decatur area is about to become “boy scout central” this weekend. About four thousand scouts are gathering in North Alabama for a jamboree. Scouts from here as well as neighboring states will meet at Point Mallard Park in Decatur for what’s called Scout Fest. It’s an event designed to bring scouts of all ages together for joint activities. Jeff Brasher is with the Greater Alabama Council for Boy Scouts of America. He says this is a chance for members to experience some high adventure… “Most of our scouts are not going to have an opportunity to go to a national high-adventure base or to a national jamboree. This is an activity where we can kind of bring the jamboree to them, and it’s a way for all of our groups to come together as a family, and to see old friends and make new friends.” Scout fest takes place every couple of years. Some of the activities include canoeing, hot air balloon rides, archery, and cast-iron cooking. The event ends with an arena show called fighting gravity.