By MARY SELL, Alabama Daily News
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency says a voter now at the center of the Senate District 27 election saga was not issued an Alabama driver’s license or registered to vote because she did not complete required documentation after moving from another state.
The agency issued a statement late Sunday night after the Alabama Republican Party moved to count the woman’s May 24 provisional ballot for Tom Whatley. The ballot had initially been excluded because she wasn’t on the voter rolls. Whatley’s campaign argued that the ballot had been excluded through no fault of the voter and should be counted. The ALGOP Steering Committee agreed, saying in a statement Sunday “that an uncounted provisional ballot in favor of Senator Tom Whatley was improperly excluded from the vote totals.”
Counting the ballot now makes the election a tie between three-term incumbent Whatley and challenger Jay Hovey, an Auburn Council member. The contest to be the GOP nominee for Senate now goes to a coin flip.
The individual in question still holds a current Georgia Driver License and didn’t sign the required paperwork to register to vote, ALEA said in its Sunday statement
“Voter registration information from ALEA’s Driver License Division is only sent after the credential is issued and the customer signs the required voter declaration, which did not occur in this specific incident.
“Voter registration information is filed nightly by ALEA’s Driver License Division to the Secretary of State’s Office to ensure each citizen’s voter registration is up to date.”
The ALGOP did not respond Monday to questions about ALEA’s statement.
The day for the coin flip has not been set.
Sherri Reese is the Democrat running in Senate District 27, which includes Lee County and parts of Russell and Tallapoosa counties.
About 16,730 ballots were cast in the May 24 primary, one of the lowest turnouts for state Senate GOP primaries.
According to campaign finance information from the secretary of state, Whatley spent about $1.29 million on the race, Hovey spent $103,000.