Articles Posted in Election Law

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Kelly Horwitz and Cason Kirby were both candidates in the August 27, 2013, election for District 4 of the Tuscaloosa Board of Education. Kirby was certified as the winner of the election. The certified vote totals were 416 votes for Kirby and 329 votes for Horwitz. Horwitz contested the results. The trial court entered a "Final Order Denying Contest" in which, among other things, it concluded that the affidavits established that no more than 70 illegal votes had been cast in the election. On November 24, 2013, Horwitz filed a motion to alter, amend, or vacate the trial court's judgment; that motion was denied by operation of law on February 24, 2014. Horwitz appealed the trial court's order denying her election contest. Based on the applicable law and facts, the Supreme Court concluded that "Phase I" of the election contest yielded a total of 159 ballots that should have been rejected. The judgment of the trial court was reversed and the case remanded back to the trial court for the conduct by the trial court of Phase II of the contest. View "Horwitz v. Kirby" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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Don Davis, in his capacity as the Judge of Probate for Mobile County, appealed a Circuit Court's final judgment in favor of then Secretary of State Beth Chapman and the three members of the Mobile County Board of Registrars: Pat Tyrrell, Shirley Short, and Virginia Delchamps. The matter before the Supreme Court concerned a regulation promulgated by the Secretary in an effort to comply with certain federal election laws and an asserted conflict between that regulation and the residency requirement prescribed by three Alabama election statutes. Upon review, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court: "Alabama statutory law continues to require, as it long has, that voters who have moved cast ballots at the polling place designated for their new address. Further, Ala. Admin 20 Code (Secretary of State), Reg. 820-2-2-.13(1), was not and is not required by NVRA or HAVA. Because Reg. 820-2-2-.13(1) expressly contradicts Alabama statutory law, it is void." View "Davis v. Bennett" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs Patricia Working, Rick Erdemir, and Floyd McGinnis appealed a circuit court judgment that held that the Jefferson County Election Commission ("the JCEC"), Probate Judge Alan King, Circuit Clerk Anne-Marie Adams, and Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale were immune from liability as to the plaintiffs' attorney fees. In "Working I," the Supreme Court held that a February special election was invalid on state-law grounds, and that the Governor's appointment of George Bowman to fill a vacancy on the Election Commission was lawful. On remand to the circuit court, as the "prevailing parties," plaintiffs moved for attorney fees. The trial court denied their motion, and plaintiffs appealed. In "Working II," the Supreme Court addressed plaintiffs' that the trial court erred in denying their motion for mediation, and vacated the trial court's order denying the motion for an award of attorney fees and remanded the case. On remand, the trial court concluded that the JCEC defendants had not waived their immunity defense and that plaintiffs' motion for attorney fees against defendants was precluded by the Alabama Constitution as to plaintiffs' state-law claims. Plaintiffs then filed this third, appeal. Upon review, the Supreme Court affirmed in part and remanded the case once again to the trial court for further proceedings. The Court affirmed the trial court's judgment on the issue of immunity and state-law claims, but remanded remand the case with instructions on the issue concerning section 6–6–20 and the federal-law claims. View "Working v. Jefferson County Election Commission" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs Leroy Bandy and David Russell appealed a circuit court judgment in favor of the City of Birmingham. In 2009, Plaintiffs challenged the results of the City Council and Board of Education elections on the basis that a change in a local ordinance governing the election was unconstitutional. Plaintiffs argued that only the legislature could make changes to the local laws pertaining to elections. Plaintiffs sought an injunction to prevent the swearing in of the newly elected council members. The issue before the Supreme Court was whether the City had the authority to change its election procedure by ordinance rather than through the state legislature. Upon careful consideration of the briefs submitted and the applicable legal authority, the Supreme Court found that the trial court properly entered its judgment in favor of the City. The Court affirmed the trial court’s decision. View "Bandy v. City of Birmingham" on Justia Law