One week after the July 18 run-off primary election, Merrill explained why he is concerned. “This is a thing that you have to remember, if you have 19 absentee ballots being mailed to the same address and it’s a standalone structure that may or may not be occupied, that is a cause for a red flag. We had a situation in a municipality with more than 100 absentee ballots mailed to the same location.”
The two counties are in a rural area of the state, noted for its poverty, known as “the Black Belt.” Because of the region’s high number of black Americans, many Americans mistakenly think that the term “Black Belt” has something to do with race. In reality, the term originally referred to an area of Alabama with dark, rich soils, and is part of the larger Southern Black Belt, which extends from Texas to Maryland. Because of the rich soil, it was home for the antebellum plantation system of agriculture.