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Eligibility of potential Senate District 27 tying vote in question as contest heads to coin flip

This past weekend, the Alabama Republican Party (ALGOP) candidate committee determined that the Senate District 27 primary contest resulted in a tie.

The race, which features State Sen. Tom Whatley (R-Auburn) and Auburn City Councilman Jay Hovey, will come to a conclusion by way of a coin flip as outlined by state law.

As of reporting time, the date and location of the coin flip have yet to be determined.

Prior to the ALGOP candidate committee’s meeting, which took place on Saturday, Hovey held a one-vote lead over Whatley.

The party decided to grant Whatley a single provisional vote that the senator’s campaign contended should have been included in the final tally. Whatley and Hovey now hold 8,373 votes each.

Whatley’s campaign argued that Tallapoosa County resident Patsy Kenney’s provisional ballot should be counted, claiming that the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) failed to issue the individual her driver’s license in a timely manner.

After ALGOP determined that Kenney was wrongly excluded from the voter roll, ALEA issued a statement advising that she was not issued a driver’s license, thus making her an ineligible voter.

“ALEA’s Driver License Division conducted a thorough review concerning the recent allegation by an individual claiming to be wrongly excluded from the polls due to a driver license error, which affected the 27 Senate District primary election,” the agency’s statement read. “The [inquiry] discovered the individual in question possesses a driver license issued by the State of Georgia.”

According to ALEA, Kenney still holds a driver’s license with the State of Georgia.

“It also revealed the individual visited the ALEA Driver License Office in Opelika, to obtain an Alabama Driver’s License,” added ALEA. “However, did not complete an issuance transaction and was never issued an Alabama Driver License. The individual still holds a current Georgia Driver License.”

The agency concluded, “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.”

ALEA advised that the agency had no further comment to offer as of Monday morning.

Yellowhammer News will continue to monitor the developing story and will provide updates accordingly.

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL

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