Tuscaloosa City Council could set special election for soon-to-be vacant council seat after new council sworn in

Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 3:02 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - We asked Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox if there will be any disarray because people living in District 7 will not have a representative on the Tuscaloosa City Council for several months until a special election is called for later this summer.

“I think if it continues for a long time that could certainly contribute. I think that’s the thing where we need to be careful,” Mayor Maddox responded.

Maddox said the seat becomes vacant on May 17 when he and the new council are sworn in.

On May 18, he expects they will set a date for a special election.

“On May 18, the council will vote officially vacating that seat. Under Alabama law there has to be an election between 60 to 90 days of that date of May 18. My guess is you’ll see an election between July 20 and August 3,” he continued.

Incumbent Sonya McKinstry lost to challenger Cassius Lanier during this year’s municipal elections.

A judge ruled at the time of the election, Lanier needed a pardon from the state to be eligible because of because of past drug-related convictions.

Maddox said residents in District 7 will still have a voice prior to that special election.

“I’d like to think that I can be their voice. They validated me with their ballots as well. And certainly, what we’ve seen over time at least during my tenure is that other council members are going to step up. There’s not going to be no one without a voice or heard,” he concluded.

Residents from District 7 can call Tuscaloosa 311 with questions and concerns until that seat is filled.

Lanier received his pardon from the state Board of Pardons and Parole after he won the election.

Both McKinstry and Lanier said they will run again for the District 7 Tuscaloosa City Council seat.

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