Today two candidates were sworn in whose election may have been due to fraudulent voting orchestrated by the The Machine at the University of Alabama. The election for District 4 had been contested by Kelly Horwitz although Cason Kirby was sworn in. The election for the School Board Chair was uncontested since the burden of proof was greater. Contesting an election is rarely successful and legal costs can run in the neighborhood of $100,000.
Should the the election of Cason Kirby be successfully contested, since he was sworn in anyway today, the judge could conceivably declare a vacancy and the 4th District School Board representative would be appointed. In that case the incumbent Horwitz would not automatically resume her service on the board. However it is much more likely that she would be declared the duly elected school board member.
There were excellent performances by the Tuscaloosa City School’s String Orchestra, two ministers prayed and robed judges swore in the elected members of the School Board and City Council. On the surface things seemed fine and dandy. But not even pomp and ceremony could erase the role that The Machine had played in interfering with a local school board election that stunk to high heaven.
Newly elected School Board Chair Lee Garrison, who squeaked by with a final vote count of 4,442 votes to 4,220, was backed by The Machine and business interests. He spoke for over eight minutes calling for “sweeping changes.” This was longer than remarks by the School Superintendent, Council President or Mayor. Many people in the audience appeared inattentive after the first five or so minutes of his rambling comments. Jason Morton reported in The Tuscaloosa News that the Mayor’s response to Garrison’s statement was, “I’m ready to learn about (Garrison’s ideas) because they are bold. There’s nothing wrong about putting big ideas on the table.”
Mayor Walter Maddox spoke about the improvements that the City of Tuscaloosa that have been made in the west side of town, including the new Tuscaloosa Career & Technology Academy in which the inauguration took place. It is ironic that it was thought by many that the motive for business interests, who attempted unsuccessfully to unseat all the School Board incumbents, was their dissatisfaction with the Academy having been located in the west side.