Though the contest went down to the wire, Republican Presidential nominee Donald J. Trump has claimed victory in the race to be the next president of the United States.
Shortly before 2 a.m., from the stage at the New York Hilton, Trump told his supporters that his opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, had called to concede the race.
After a divisive and lengthy campaign, Trump said it was time for Americans to come together as “one united people.”
“For those who have chosen not to support me in the past, and I believe there’s been a few, I’m reaching out to you for your guidance and your help so we can work together and unify our great country,” Trump said. “Ours was not a campaign, but rather an incredible and great movement made up of millions of hardworking men and women who love their country and want a better and brighter future for themselves and for their families.”
In his brief victory speech, Trump avoided many of the controversial elements that marked his campaign, instead discussing his plans to “fix inner cities and rebuild highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools and hospitals.” He also gave a brief nod to Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, who has been an advisor to the Trump throughout the campaign.
Trump’s path to the White House was not an easy one, though, requiring key victories in battleground states like Florida, Ohio and North Carolina. Trump also became the first GOP presidential candidate to carry Pennsylvania and Wisconsin since the 1980s.
While some of those results came as a surprise, Trump’s victory in Alabama was all but guaranteed, and when the polls closed Tuesday evening, he’d secured the Yellowhammer state’s nine electoral college votes with more than 63 percent of the overall vote.
Trump was also the clear winner in Mobile County, taking home 91,087 votes to Clinton’s 68,429, though third-party hopefuls Gary Johnson and Jill Stein did receive 3,113 and 758 votes, respectively.
However, despite large voter turnout nationally, the number of local voters who showed up at the polls in Mobile County was actually lower than many election officials had anticipated.
While lines at some of the county’s 88 polling precincts were long, it doesn’t appear that locals turned out for the 2016 general election at the same level they did for the two presidential elections preceding it.
According to the initial numbers reported by Mobile County Probate Court, 165,709 ballots were cast locally during the Nov. 8 election.
While that number does not include roughly 5,600 absentee ballots that will be counted on Wednesday, this year’s voter turnout will still likely fall short of the 180,845 ballots cast in 2008 and the 175,466 votes recorded in 2012.
As election staff left shortly before midnight Tuesday, Probate Judge Don Davis said the county saw a “heavy turnout,” even if there was a slight dip in the numbers from previous years.
However, local results seemed to take longer to compile than they have in previous years, with the first precincts in Mobile County reporting their election results well after Trump claimed victory in Alabama.
The probate court also reported issues with the computer programs it uses to count and record absentee ballots filed in Mobile County.
In press release Tuesday night, Davis said the problem arose because the “the state misprinted the absentee ballot after absentee balloting had commenced.” That left local officials with two absentee ballots — each tabulated with separate computer programs that weren’t properly communicating on election day.
Davis said the results from the absentee ballots had already been determined, though he said those votes would have to be manually re-entered once the technical issues were resolved.
Aside from that, though, Davis said the 2016 election went “great” locally, with the exception of a few long lines reported in some precincts.
“There were long lines, some that went out the door and around the corner in some places,” Davis said. “I actually talked to Sheriff Sam Cochran today, and he said the lines at his polling place were so long that he actually waited and came back a second time.”
As far as the percentage of the eligible voters in Mobile County, probate records indicate that more than 58 percent of registered voters cast a ballot Tuesday.
However, that number still pales in comparison to the county record 80 percent, which was recorded in 1992 when incumbent George H.W. Bush faced Democratic challenger Bill Clinton.
At two of the county’s polling precincts, voters were processed using electronic poll books – part of a pilot program in a number of Alabama counties implemented by Secretary of State John Merrill’s office.
According to Davis’ Chief of Staff Mark Erwin, the pilot program was able to speed up the initial processing times for those voting at the Connie Hudson Senior Center and the Creekwood Church of Christ.
“We could not have had a better report from those that were on the ground. By 9 a.m. at the Connie Hudson Senior Center, we had processed over 900 voters,” Erwin said. “From what I’ve been told, even though the lines were long at times, the wait in those lines to get through and get to the signature area was only around 10 minutes.”
In local races, Mobile County Commissioners Jerry Carl and Merceria Ludgood, neither of whom faced opposition on the ballot, both secured another term in office. The same was true for Treasurer Philip Benson and License Commissioner Nick Matranga.
The only county official who faces a challenger in the general election was District 2 County Commissioner Connie Hudson, who bested Democratic challenger Lula Albert-Kaigler by more than 20,000 votes.
Also, in what seemed to be either an anomaly or a mistake, Mobile County’s only local ballot initiative passed without a single vote in opposition to it. The ballot measure authorized the county’s Pay As You Go construction program, which finances millions of dollars of local infrastructure improvements annually.
While the program has been widely supported for a number of years, the vote on Tuesday evening recorded more than 80,000 ‘yes’ votes without a single vote opposing the county’s continued use of the program.
Davis told reporters he “didn’t’ know” if the county had ever seen a one-way vote on a ballot initiative, but said his office would be reviewing the issue.
Across the state, incumbent Sen. Richard Shelby handily defeated his Democratic challenger Ron Crumpton to secure a sixth term in the U.S. Senate. With most of Alabama’s 67 counties reporting, Shelby secured 1,192,261 votes to Crumpton’s 659,042.
As for the statewide ballot measures, all 14 managed to pass a vote of the people, though some — especially those that only affected one county — squeaked by with a slim margin.
Last week, Lagniappe outlined all of the constitutional amendment’s voters were asked to decide this evening, and that report is available here.
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