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Alabama: Election commission still planning on an election in Jefferson County

Doc's Political Parlor reports: Sid Browning, Supervisor of Elections for Jefferson County, told the Parlor this week that the county is preparing to hold a special election on February 5th though the Governor has already appointed a replacement to fill the vacated County Commission seat. Larry Langford created the vacancy when he left the commission after winning the Birmingham mayor’s race. Governor Bob Riley has already appointed George Bowman to serve in the seat, but his authority to do that is being challenged in court by Fairfield resident Fred Plump.

The Jefferson County Election Commission “would be remiss not to prepare for the election” given the 1977 Act that, in the Commission’s understanding, calls for an election to replace Langford, said Browning. A 2004 law authorizes the governor to fill county commission vacancies by appointment but excludes counties, such as Jefferson, with their own rules for special election. Riley’s administration claims that the 2004 law voids the 1977 law that specifies Jefferson County fills vacancies with elections.

The Riley administration has lost a similar case in Mobile County pending appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Browning told the Parlor that he sees no substantive difference between the Mobile County and Jefferson County cases. -- Two Trains Going Down Two Tracks

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