Tuscaloosa candidate says 397 voters were bribed in municipal election

Source: MGN Online
Source: MGN Online

TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) - A Tuscaloosa Board of Education candidate now claims that nearly 400 votes in the recent municipal election were bought with the promise of free alcohol.

Kelly Horwitz presented the list of 397 voters (PDF) Friday and there is a hearing Tuesday to discuss the allegations.

In a complaint filed Monday, Horwitz's attorney lays out the evidence, including text from several emails allegedly sent to sorority and fraternity members. These emails remind the men and women to vote for Horwitz's opponent, Cason Kirby, and Lee Garrison, a University alum, and explains how they can get a free drink at two local bars after they prove they've voted.

According to Alabama law, it is illegal to bribe or "buy" votes in exchange for alcohol.

In an email from Delta Gamma, the sender advises members not to speak to media after voting.

The complaint alleges that an unnamed fraternity encourages members to vote even if they weren't registered in Tuscaloosa and "advises them to simply vote a provisional ballot."

In addition, the complaint lays out several "irregularities" in registration shortly before the election:

-Eight people registered at the same address. The true resident at the address admitted that those people didn't live at that location.

-267 people registered to vote between Aug. 9 and Aug. 16. Seventy-six listed four sorority houses as their address.

Andy Campbell, Cason Kirby's attorney, has released the following statement about the complaints:

"The contestant in her filing has used misstatements, innuendo and a handful of emails from students to argue that there was widespread bribery and illegal voting in this election. This is not only untrue and unsupported by the evidence , it is totally at odds with Ala. Law.Rather than showing what specific voters were illegal.as required by law., the contestant has labeled virtually every student who voted –over 400-as"tainted "by fraud without any further evidence. There is absolutely no showing of what specific students received any social messages, what specific students acted on the basis of any social messages , that My client had anything to do with them or that any students accepted a free drink as a result. Nor is there any evidence that a free drink was tied to a vote for Cason Kirby. What Horwitz is seeking is to disenfranchise an entire class of student voters based on supposition and not evidence. The irony is that Horwitz has testified that she went to the same sorority and fraternity houses actively seeking votes from the same students she now claims as illegal Votes."

A hearing on the alleged voter fraud is set for Tuesday.

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