Late Wednesday, the Alabama Republican Party (ALGOP) announced that it would rehear augments concerning its decision to grant State Sen. Tom Whatley (R-Auburn) a tying vote in the Senate District 27 GOP primary election.
ALGOP’s second hearing on the issue will take place Friday morning.
The vote in question was a rejected ballot cast by Tallapoosa County resident Patsy Kenney, who recently moved to Alabama from Georgia.
The ballot, which brought Whatley to a tie in the primary contest with Auburn City Councilman Jay Hovey, has since come into question after an investigation was conducted by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) regarding the individual’s voter registration information.
Whatley’s legal team has contended that Kenney was wrongly excluded from the voter roll due to a registration error made by ALEA.
After conducting a review into the matter, ALEA released a statement outlining that Kenney did not complete the issuance transaction necessary to obtain an Alabama driver’s license, thus making her an ineligible voter.
Wednesday, Hovey told Yellowhammer News that he had filed a motion requesting that ALGOP hold a rehearing given the newly introduced evidence put forth by ALEA.
In a statement announcing that it had granted Hovey’s request to rehear the case, ALGOP stated the importance of ensuring that the electoral process played out according to the law.
“Election security and making sure that every vote is counted properly is of paramount importance to the Alabama Republican Party,” the party’s statement read. “The ALGOP will release additional information once the committee has reached a decision.”
In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Hovey welcomed ALGOP’s decision to rehear the matter and maintained that ALEA’s review confirmed that Kenney’s vote was “illegal.”
“I’m very pleased that the Party granted our request to reconvene,” said Hovey. “The statement issued by ALEA on Monday confirms that our position was correct. The vote used to bring this race to a tie was in fact cast by an unregistered voter and therefore an illegal vote. I look forward to our conversation with the Party tomorrow.”
Agreeing with Hovey’s assertion regarding the ballot’s legality was Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, who on Thursday took to social media and confirmed that Hovey garnered “the most legal votes cast.”
If ALGOP upholds its determination from the initial hearing, the race’s winner will be determined by the toss of a coin.
Yellowhammer News has requested comment from the Whatley campaign.
Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL