In Tuscaloosa, home of The Crimson Tide, many out-of-town football fans who were walking to the stadium for the football team’s last home game of the season last Saturday may have noticed the red Kelly Horwitz for School Board election campaign signs that remained in the yards of District 4 residents.
The signs stood in silent protest of an election that was made into a mockery of democracy by University students aligned with the interests of The Machine. Some of the signs had fallen into a bed of Autumn leaves. Many remained upright. Horwitz supporters had refused to remove the signs in their yards. They felt that their votes had been negated by the fraudulent behavior of students who voted for The Machine candidate Cason Kirby.
By leaving the signs in their yards the permanent residents of District 4 were proclaiming that they voted for the only qualified candidate in the race. Many football fans, some of whom even might have been the parents of students who voted in the local municipal race, were scurrying to the stadium and feeling the nip of the November day’s chilly wind. They likely paid scant attention to the defiant election signs.
Of course parents of students who voted in the School Board race may have heard complaints from their children that they had had to fill out affidavits. Instead of compelling the hundreds of students who had questionable motives for voting and dubious residency qualifications to testify under oath in court, Circuit Court Judge James Roberts had allowed the students to fill out forms. Then he dismissed the challenge, never letting any testimony in court about the circumstances under which University students voted in a local school board race to find the light of day. After all many of the students who voted had never even heard of a school board, prior to their following the dictates of The Machine to vote for a former Student Government Association President.
A few days following the Crimson Tide’s football victory a headline in The Tuscaloosa News “Kelly Horwitz appeals school board election challenge to Alabama Supreme Court” may have lifted the spirits of her supporters. Having any success in the Alabama Supreme Court and with its justices, who are all Republicans with Roy ( Ten Commandments ) Moore as the Chief Justice, may be a long shot. But many District 4 voters who have felt that their school board was damaged by the votes of feckless students welcomed the last salvo in a battle for democracy.
In The Tuscaloosa News Stephanie Taylor reported: “In dismissing her challenge, Tuscaloosa County Circuit Court Judge Jim Roberts ruled there were not enough potential illegal ballots to overturn the results. Horwitz filed a notice of appeal Monday morning and issued a statement to the media. ‘It was not an easy decision, nor one that I made lightly,’ the statement read.”During Circuit Court proceedings last month, Horwitz attributed her loss in the Aug. 27 election to organized block voting by members of University of Alabama Greek organizations. Her attorneys have characterized their actions as voter fraud. They claim many those voters were not eligible in the district, or voted after being offered illegal inducements, including free drinks and concert tickets.
“In his ruling dismissing the case, Roberts wrote that Horwitz’s attorneys never presented evidence to prove allegations that students were offered wristbands for free drinks at local bars and other inducements that could render a vote illegal, and therefore invalid. Furthermore, Roberts wrote that he never prevented Horwitz’s attorneys from deposing students to prove those claims. Horwitz’s attorneys disagree. They claim Roberts did in fact bar them from deposing those students, according to a motion filed Monday morning.
“‘Twice in the past 16 years, my district has been embroiled in an election contest raising the same issues – what constitutes “residency” in a municipal election. Twice now, there have been no definitive answers,’ Horwitz wrote in her statement. ‘Every time the residency requirement is ignored, it waters down the votes of those who are proper residents. That is what concerns the long-term residents of District 4 and ought to concern residents of other districts, because the student population is no longer limited to campus or any particular district. These concerns need to be addressed and certainty provided.’
“‘No matter what happens with the appeal, it is just one part of a larger conversation that many Tuscaloosans would like to see happen, and of larger changes that Tuscaloosans want to see take root.'”