ALEA refutes claim on provisionary ballot in District 27 Senate race

The ALGOP is working with Hovey (left) and Whatley (right) to determine a date and location for...
The ALGOP is working with Hovey (left) and Whatley (right) to determine a date and location for the tiebreaker.(Source: Candidates)
Published: Jun. 27, 2022 at 8:51 AM EDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WTVM) - We’re learning new information on the District 27 Republican primary Senate race between Auburn City Councilman Jay Hovey and incumbent Tom Whatley.

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s Driver License Division is refuting the claim that an individual was wrongly excluded from the polls due to a driver license error.

The allegation was brought on by the Alabama Republican Party Candidate Committee during Saturday’s election contest hearing on the District 27 seat. They said an uncounted provisional ballot in favor of Senator Whatley was improperly excluded from the vote totals.

Hovey beat Whatley by one vote last month. When the aforementioned ballot was included in the total votes, the race became tied, according to the committee.

However, ALEA said their investigation revealed “the individual in question possesses a driver license issued by the State of Georgia.” ALEA further said the individual visited the ALEA Driver License Office in Opelika to obtain an Alabama driver’s license but did not complete an issuance transaction. The person still holds a current Georgia driver’s license, according to ALEA.

The Alex City Outlook reports the provisional ballot in question is that of a Tallapoosa County woman.

“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.”

Alabama Law Enforcement Agency

Despite the response from ALEA, the Alabama GOP Candidate Committee is still calling the race a tie. They voted in favor of having Chairman John Wahl resolve the tie by lot, the method used for such situations in a general election, as outlined in Alabama Code 17-12-23, which reads:

“In all elections where there is a tie between the two highest candidates for the same office, for all county or precinct offices, it shall be decided by lot by the judge of probate of the county in the presence of the candidates; and in the case of the office of circuit judge, senator, representative, or any state officer not otherwise provided for, the Secretary of State shall, in the presence of the Governor, and such other electors as may choose to be present, decide the tie by lot.”

Source: Alabama Secretary of State's Office

The ALGOP is working with both candidates to determine a date and location for the tiebreaker. The eventual winner will challenge Democrat Sherri Reese in the November general election.

District 27 includes parts of Lee, Russell and Tallapoosa counties.

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