Alabama State Senate Race District 27 declared a tie

Published: Jun. 27, 2022 at 9:10 PM EDT
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ALABAMA (WTVM) - A state senate seat in Alabama could come down to a literal coin flip.

More than a month has passed since Auburn city councilman Jay Hovey appeared to beat incumbent Tom Whatley by a single vote.

Now, the winner of the District 27 seat, which serves parts of Lee, Russell and Tallapoosa counties, is in question.

The results of the race were appealed... and this weekend, the Alabama Republican Party declared the race a tie.

Jay Hovey held a four-vote lead over incumbent senator Tom Whatley on primary election night, but the race was deemed too close to call due to outstanding provisional ballots.

Hovey held onto his lead by a single vote following the final tally, but the Whatley campaign was not finished.

ALGOP communications Director Jeannie Burnisston said, “Senator Whatley filed an election contest with Alabama republican party.”

On Saturday, attorneys for both candidates presented evidence and testimony to the Alabama republican party candidate committee. The committee ruled a provisional ballot initially not counted in the election should in fact be a vote for Whatley. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency issued a statement on Sunday claiming the ballot in question was cast by a voter with a Georgia Driver’s License. While the driver had started paperwork for an Alabama license, the paperwork was not complete.

“Concerning ALEA’s statement that information was not presented in time to be included in that hearing.”

According to Alabama law, the tie will be decided by lot, which is a general term for many potential solutions. The tie could result in a coin flip, drawing of straws, or a dice roll to declare the winner.

Secretary of State John Merrill says out of the seven years he’s been in this position, this has happened only three times, including this race.

“Those two candidates for district 27 will come together, the coin toss will be conducted, and the winner of the coin toss will be the person designated as the nominee for the republican party for state senate district 27.”

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

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