The Senate District 27 primary election saga took another twist Friday morning as State Sen. Tom Whatley (R-Auburn) announced that his legal counsel would support arguments presented by a citizen who says they were wrongly excluded from the voter roll.
Whatley’s campaign, which appears to have been dealt a one-vote loss to GOP primary challenger and Auburn City Councilman Jay Hovey, presented the case of Tallapoosa County resident Patsy Kenney.
Kenney, who recently moved to Dadeville with her husband David, went to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s (ALEA) Opelika office on April 28 to obtain a new drivers license and register to vote, according to Whatley’s campaign.
“Voting has always been important to me,” said Kenney, a lifelong Republican voter, in a release from the campaign. “I think I have missed voting in maybe one election in the past 20 years.”
Kenney and her husband left the ALEA office after an office clerk assisted them with updating their information, believing they had been registered to vote.
According to Whatley’s campaign, Kenney, along with her husband and father-in-law, went to vote at their local precinct on May 24, where she was told that her name was absent from the voter roll. She then cast her vote on a provisional ballot.
Kenney was told a week later that her vote was not counted, said the campaign.
“I was extremely upset, from a young age I was always taught that voting is not only a right and privilege, but a responsibility,” she said. “More importantly, when I found out there was a one vote difference in the Senate race, I had to reach out to someone, because I just knew that my vote should have counted.”
The state senator’s campaign noted that Kenney’s voter registration card was placed in the mail to be delivered to her on June 3. Whatley’s release advised that, by law, ALEA has 10 days to forward voter registration information to the county registrar.
Saturday, the Alabama Republican Party (ALGOP) candidate committee will hold closed hearings on three primary election contests, which includes Senate District 27.
Legal counsel representing Kenney and Whatley’s campaign will present arguments to ALGOP contending that Kenney was lawfully registered to vote, and that her ballot should be included in the final vote count.
Should ALGOP rule in favor of Kenney, the hotly contested Alabama Senate race between Whatley and Hovey will be tied at 8,373 votes for each candidate.
“I have always heard of the power of one vote” added Kenney, “I just never thought it would be my own. I was proud to vote for Senator Whatley and I will always tell the story about how my one vote could make the actual difference in who my State Senator is.”
Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL