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ALGOP reacts to HD2 election contest

By MADDISON BOOTH, Alabama Daily News

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Alabama Republican Party acknowledged Monday that it had received an official election contest from Kimberly Butler regarding the House District 2 race.

The party stated in a press release that because “Chairman John Wahl has served on committees with both parties involved…Senior Vice Chairman John Skipper will act in his place.”

As Alabama Daily News previously reported, Butler is seeking a new election in place of the June 21 run-off in which she was not included.

Butler placed third in the Republican primary, only 14 votes behind Jason Black.

In the run-off, Ben Harrison defeated Black for the seat, but Butler argued that she should’ve been on the June ballot instead of Black.

In her letter to the ALGOP, Butler said that the error was due to incorrect ballot distribution.

“Specifically, at least 42 qualified electors and residents of House District 2…were denied their right to vote for me, because they were, without their knowledge, intentionally or mistakenly registered in House District 1 instead of House District 2,” Butler said in the letter.

Lauderdale County Probate Judge Will Motlow previously told Alabama Daily News that there were around 70 House District 2 voters who had been wrongly assigned to House District 1. Motlow said the error was due to redistricting issues and that those voters were in District 1 before the new lines were drawn.

Secretary of State John Merrill said his office is not investigating any issue with the House District 2 race.

“The bottom line is each and every person that participated on May 24 was able to vote a legal ballot in that race,” Merrill said when the contest was first announced. “Nobody was disenfranchised.” 

Similar reapportionment concerns in the House District 28 and 29 races led to contests being filed, but the party denied them in both cases.

Harrison reacted with a statement early Tuesday.

“Overturning an election is incredibly serious, and I hope no one takes it lightly. The voters of District 2 spoke clearly in both the primary and runoff, and I believe it’s important for everyone to respect their voice. I understand and share the concerns about the mistakes made in the redistricting process, but that doesn’t make it okay to discount thousands of votes from legitimate voters.

“We need to address the mistakes so we can make sure they never happen again, and we also need to look at the facts overall. I believe the numbers are clearly on my side. Approximately 70 people received incorrect ballots for State House, while I won the Republican Primary by 175 votes, and the runoff by 861 votes. The bottom line is that there were nowhere near enough votes affected to make up that difference. I believe we need to respect the voters of House District two.”

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