Around ten-forty-five this morning, John Shaver, a sixty-seven-year-old retired corrections officer, wearing a fedora and a fancy scarf, walked out of the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, on the east side of town, where he voted. I asked him whom he voted for. “You think I voted for Roy Moore, who’d send me back to slavery?” Shaver said, laughing. “Damn. We’re through with that.” Still, he said, “It’ll be a miracle if Doug Jones wins. It’s an outside shot. On the other hand, hopefully folks like me will come out in droves. These educated folks don’t vote for bigotry and racism so much now, like the old crowd used to.” Shaver had come to vote alone, but he said that his friends were of the same mind as him. “Everybody I know is voting for Jones. Even people who haven’t voted for a while. We’re getting tired of people thinking everyone from Alabama is a dumb-ass.”
A Muslim couple, who immigrated to Alabama from Yemen, had just voted as well. Lamya Almas, an English professor, described herself as “politically independent.” Her husband is a truck driver. Both are in their early forties. “Elections are predetermined in Yemen,” Almas said. “But we learned it was always important to vote anyway, even before we became U.S. citizens.” She and her husband both voted for Jones, Almas said, “because of the things you hear on the news. The allegations are concerning. Moore’s history here is concerning. We left a dark place and we don’t want to go back.”
A middle-aged white woman, who declined to share her name, told me that she voted for Jones as well. “I don’t vote straight ticket, but I tend to vote Democrat. I’ve never liked Roy Moore.”
“I didn’t vote for either of them,” her ninety-three-year-old aunt, walking next to her, said. “I voted for my own man.”
“No, you voted for Doug Jones,” her niece said.
“Yeah,” the older woman said. “Right.”
A pharmacist in his late forties, wearing scrubs, exited the museum next. He said that his name was Chris. “I normally vote Republican,” Chris said. “I did not this time. I voted for Jones. I find Roy Moore to be an embarrassment to the state. I’ve felt that way for a long time, even before the allegations. He did things as a judge that I think were against the Constitution, and I could not stand for that.”
Finally, a Roy Moore supporter emerged. Chris Hynniman, who is twenty-one years old, white, and a native of Montgomery, wore khakis and a fleece. “Honestly, it had a lot to do with my parents,” he said. “I’m young. I’m not completely into it. They’re Republicans.” The same thinking had led him to vote for Donald Trump, last November. Was Hynniman torn at all this time around? “A little bit, because of all the social-media chatter going on,” he said. “But my friends and I, we figure you never know what’s true or not.” He got in his jeep and drove off.