Voters head to the polls in contentious Senate race in Alabama

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Alabama voters headed to the polls Tuesday for a pivotal special election in which allegations of inappropriate behavior against Republican candidate Roy Moore have created a unique opportunity for Democrats in the typically ruby-red Deep South.

The closely watched Senate contest between Moore and Democrat Doug Jones is expected to set the stage for the 2018 midterm elections by testing the influence of President Trump and conservative allies, such as Stephen K. Bannon, former White House chief strategist, with voters on the ground.

A win in the Deep South for Democrats, the first in a Senate race in Alabama since 1992, would be a rebuke to Trump and Bannon, who have promoted Moore over the objections of establishment Republicans.

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones made their closing arguments to voters on Monday, a day before one of the most anticipated special elections in U.S. history.

Moore is strongest with rural and small-town white voters in Alabama, and he chose for his closing rally a part of the state where he trounced GOP Sen. Luther Strange Luther Johnson StrangeGOP sen: ‘Just a fact’ Moore will face ethics complaint if elected Trevor Noah: Trump must be ‘morally degenerate’ to back Roy Moore Moore gets boost from Bannon in final days of campaign MORE (Ala.) in a primary earlier this fall.

Even Sen. Richard Shelby Richard Craig ShelbyObstruction of justice watch: Trump attacks the FBI The Hill’s 12:30 Report Alabama businesses fear Moore victory would hurt state economy: report MORE (Ala.), who switched to the Republican Party in 1994 after winning reelection to the Senate as a Democrat, is opposing Moore.

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Associated Press Southeast political correspondent Bill Barrow breaks down the Alabama U.S. Senate race between Democratic candidate Doug Jones and Republican Roy Moore on the eve of the special election.

Democrat Doug Jones and Republican Roy Moore are on the ballot.The election brings an end to a campaign that consumed the state for six months and grew more intense after nine women accused Moore of a range of misconduct from pursuing relationships with them as teenagers to unwanted attention to assault.

► Tuesday: Doug Jones still has hurdles to overcome in Alabama► Monday: 6 things to watch in the Alabama Senate election Tuesday► Sunday: President Trump ‘on trial’ in Alabama’s Senate electionJones has stressed a platform of job creation and health care while soft-pedaling other issues.Moore has talked more about Donald Trump but otherwise has run a campaign not unlike his previous statewide ones, with an emphasis on getting his loyal base of voters to the polls.

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After a Supreme Court decision weakening the Voting Rights Act, Alabama passed a strict voter identification law, notes Slate’s Jamelle Bouie.

An academic study suggests that the laws implemented since the Supreme Court decision have already reduced voter turnout in racially diverse parts of Alabama, Scott Douglas, the executive director of Greater Birmingham Ministries, explains in a Times op-ed.

Newkirk adds: “Early voting, which has been a key factor for other states in increasing black turnout, is not permitted in Alabama.

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