By CAROLINE BECK, Alabama Daily News
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Gov. Kay Ivey on Monday pardoned a couple of turkeys in an Alabama Thanksgiving tradition that goes back more than 70 years. But after an election that has been anything but traditional, talk quickly turned to politics.
Ivey wouldn’t say if she accepts or rejects Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential election win over President Donald Trump as called by multiple media organizations, including the Associated Press, but rather emphasized the need for every legal vote to be counted.
“When every legal vote has been counted, it will be final and we want to be sure that every legal vote is counted,” Ivey said.
Trump has yet to concede the presidential race and has promised legal challenges in multiple states. His aides on Monday made several accusations of voting irregularities and fraud, none of which have yet been substantiated. His administration has also filed multiple lawsuits in different states over accusations of voter fraud, the Associated Press reported.
“President Trump is certainly within his right to challenge that, because we all want to be sure that we all had a fair and safe and free election,” Ivey said when asked if she was concerned votes weren’t being counted,
Ivey also said she expects Alabama’s soon to be senator Tommy Tuberville and new House delegation members Jerry Carl and Barry Moore to work well with the Biden administration.
“Alabama folks work well with people,” Ivey said. “We work to get things done, not to be divisive.”
Representative-elect Jerry Carl, R-Mobile, also emphasized the importance of counting every legal vote in an emailed statement to ADN.
“It’s important that we wait for every legal vote to be counted before determining who the winner is,” Carl said. “Regardless of who ultimately wins this election, my commitment to the people of south Alabama remains unchanged. I will work to establish and maintain a productive relationship with the White House so that I can fight for my constituents and best do the job they elected me to do.”
Several GOP members of the delegation have used social media to cast doubt and accusations of fraud in the presidential election in recent days.
Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville, said he would not vote to certify a Biden victory, saying on Twitter Monday, “I urge (President Donald Trump and) Republicans to fight Biden’s unlawful victory claims.”
Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville, said presidential elections are over when the votes are certified, and the Electoral College meets in December.
“President Trump has every right to legally challenge any state results and to seek a recount where appropriate,” he tweeted.
Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Saks, said on social media that some states are “are utterly incompetent at running an election.”
“Many Americans will view the 2020 election in doubt because of the operations of these states,” Rogers said. “And that will only undermine the integrity in our institutions going forward.”
Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Selma, told reporters during a Zoom press conference on Monday that she disagrees with the notion that the election was stolen and does not think there is widespread voter fraud.
“Now we know that every vote must be counted and indeed the count must continue,” Sewell said. “I think that it’s clear that there has been no evidence of widespread fraud and I don’t believe there is any evidence to substantiate the conspiracy that the election was stolen. I believe that the Trump lawsuits are baseless and that the courts have continued to reject them.”
Turkeys Clyde and Henrietta from the Bates House of Turkey in Greenville, Alabama were pardoned by Ivey, as has been the tradition for Alabama governors since 1949.
Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries Commissioner Rick Pate thanked Ivey for her work in helping farmers during the COVID-19 pandemic and encouraged Alabamians to shop locally for their Thanksgiving dinner needs.
“As you prepare your Thanksgiving menu, everybody might not be able to get a Bates turkey but I hope you will get one of their Alabama turkeys, but there is also sweet potatoes and pies and other Alabama products, and we appreciate our local farmers,” Pate said on Monday.
Becky Bates Sloane, owner of the Bates House of Turkey, also implored Alabamians to buy from local farmers this year to help stay any economic impact felt because of the pandemic.
“If ever we needed to support small businesses, it’s this year,” Sloane said.