By MARY SELL, Alabama Daily News
The Alabama Republican Party’s Candidate Committee could reverse today last week’s decision to send the Senate District 27 contest to a coin flip.
The party on Wednesday night agreed to re-hear arguments from candidate Jay Hovey on why a provisional ballot the committee last week agreed to count for incumbent Sen. Tom Whatley should not be counted. County level election officials had previously disqualified the ballot and, since the ALGOP’s June 25 decision, both the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency and Secretary of State John Merrill have said Patsy Kenney was not registered to vote in Alabama on May 24.
Kenney not being registered, though she attempted to do so when she applied for an Alabama license, has created a lot of angst within the state GOP. Some behind the scenes have said it can’t call itself the party of election integrity while hanging this race on a ballot cast by an unregistered voter.
Declaring a tie led the party to say the race would be settled “by lots.” A day for the coin flip had not yet been set.
In re-hearing the contest this morning, the party has a few options. State law says it’s ultimately up to parties to decide their nominees in general elections. The committee today could leave the provisional ballot alone and still declare Hovey or Whatley the nominee.
Meanwhile, Bryan Taylor, an attorney for Kenney, said on Thursday night Kenney is “considering federal lawsuit if (her) ballot is rejected.”
“Under the law and the U.S. Constitution, Ms. Kenney is entitled to have her vote count, and she is prepared to challenge any attempt now to strip her of that right,” a press release from Taylor said.
“… Case law across the country is almost universal on this point: If a voter is asked at the DMV if they want to register to vote, and they say yes, and they leave the DMV believing they have been registered because personnel did not inform them otherwise, their vote should count,” Taylor previously said.