Contested State Senate Race

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Whatley vs. Hovey PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED TO THE OBSERVER

BY HANNAH LESTER

HLESTER@
OPELIKAOBSERVER.COM

ALABAMA —

There were congratulations all around — Jay Hovey looked to be beating incumbent Tom Whatley for State Senate District 27 by one vote. But now, the election results have been contested.

Hovey and Whatley were four votes apart following the primary vote on May 24. However, after provisional ballots were counted on May 31, Hovey had unofficially beaten Whatley by one.

The State Senate District 27 seat is one of four being contest with the ALGOP, including Alabama house District 2, Alabama House District 28 and Alabama House District 29.

According to the secretary of state website and official election laws, the contest must be made within one day of the results being declared.

“Such contest shall be heard and tried by the county executive committee as to candidates for county offices and by the state committee as to candidates for all other offices,” the law said.

The grounds for contesting the results can include corruption on “ the part of any inspector, clerk, returning officer, canvassing board, or other person,” on the idea that Whatley or Hovey is not eligible to run, on the basis of illegal votes, of legal votes not being counted, in the case of bribes or intimidation or a mistake in counting.

The state committee will have the authority to ask for witnesses and materials used in the election.

A hearing will be held June 25 and both Hovey and Whatley will present their case and any supporting documentation.

The state executive committee is required by law to meet within five days of the filing of the contest. They have until 83 days before the general election to provide the determination of the contest, however, which would be Aug. 17. If a judgement is not provided, it will be equivalent to a dismissal of a contest.

If the committee can’t determine a winner, a new primary can be held.

Therefore, it may be some time before there is a clear winner for the Hovey vs. Whatley State Senate seat.

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