Final tally of votes declared Boothe winner

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The State Canvassing Board on Monday certified the results of the House District 89 race, declaring Rep. Alan Boothe the winner.

Boothe, R-Troy, defeated Democrat Joel Lee Williams by 84 votes. The margin was .76 percent, not enough to trigger an automatic recount in the election. However, Williams was not ready to concede on Monday.

“I’m going to have some final conversations with people (Monday night) and will announce my decision on Tuesday,” Williams said Monday.

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The state certification confirms the results reported earlier this month from Pike and Dale counties, but does not address reports of ballot inconsistencies in Dale County where the probate judge said voters at the Level Plains precinct were not given the proper ballots to allow them to vote in the District 89 race.

“It’s come to my attention that there were no votes cast for Mr. Williams or for Mr. Boothe in this precinct,” Sharon Michalic, probate judge in Dale County, said earlier this month. “All of the Level Plains voters are not in District 89, and it appears some of the voters that should have had a ballot that allowed them to vote for Mr. Boothe or Mr. Williams did not get those ballots.”

Michalic did not provide an estimate of the affected voters, but reports indicated voter rolls showed more than 220 voters who should have received a District 89 ballot.

Michalic said she had reported the issue to the Secretary of State’s election department and was advised to certify the results as cast and counted from the Nov. 4 general election.

Boothe won Dale County, garnering 1,303 votes to Williams’ 570. Williams won Pike County, 4,866 to 4,217.

According to Alabama Code, candidates have 20 days after certification to contest an election. A representative of the Secretary of State’s office said earlier this month that contest would be filed with the clerk of the circuit court in either Dale or Pike counties.

Procedure includes the appointment of someone to take testimony and gather facts in the case and, ultimately, could direct the contest to the state House of Representatives for a decision of what to do.

Meanwhile, Marsal said, an Attorney General’s opinion had been issued in a previous case ruling that whomever is declared winner at the time the votes are counted can be sworn into office and remain in office until any contest is resolved.