Votelaw, Edward Still's blog on law and politics: March 2012 Archives

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March 31, 2012

Broadcaster withdraws from race because of equal-time rule

The Gadsden Times reports: J. Holland, the Republican candidate for Etowah County Probate Judge, on Friday announced his withdrawal from the race. ...

In the release, Holland cited the Federal Communications Commission's equal-time rule, which requires broadcast stations to offer candidates seeking the same elected office 'equal access' to air time, according to the Alabama Broadcasters 2010 Political Broadcasting Guide.

Holland, a radio broadcaster with WGAD, hosts the station's "Contact" program weekdays from 6 a.m. until 9 a.m. He said complying with the law, which he called an "unjust" and "discriminatory practice," is "practically impossible for most any broadcaster to uphold and make a living." -- Read the whole story --> Holland withdraws from probate judge race |

March 29, 2012

"Craigslist Founder Craig Newmark Jumps Into Voting Rights Fight"

TPMMuckraker reports: Craigslist founder Craig Newmark is jumping into the voting rights fight, with his group craigconnects publishing an infographic that illustrates the surge of voting restrictions that have been enacted in states around the country in recent years. ...

"I think all Americans should be concerned about these new voter restrictions," Newmark said. "Voting is our fundamental right. If the states continue to restrict who can vote, who knows where they will stop?" -- Read the whole story --> Craigslist Founder Craig Newmark Jumps Into Voting Rights Fight | TPMMuckraker

The infographic is here

March 28, 2012

Another write-in for Chief Justice

The Mobile Press Register reports: Mobile lawyer Ginger Broadway Poynter said she's launching a write-in campaign for chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. ...

There are no qualifying deadlines -- and very few requirements -- for write-in candidates, according to the Alabama Secretary of State's office. General election ballots include a space for voters to write in a candidate's name. Poynter said she's planning to ask voters to write in only her first name -- Ginger -- because it is easy to remember and is distinguishable. -- Read the whole story --> Mobile lawyer launches write-in bid for Alabama chief justice (Political Skinny) |

Etowah County Democrats to fill a vacancy on ticket

The Gadsden Times reports: Etowah County Commissioner Perry Gwin said Tuesday he's withdrawn his candidacy for re-election.

Gwin, a two-term commissioner first elected to the District 2 seat in 2004, said he sent a letter to Probate Judge Bobby Junkins and Etowah County Democratic Party Chair Whitt Torbert to withdraw from the race. ...

The county's Democratic Executive Committee will select and approve a replacement to run for the office. -- Read the whole story --> Etowah commissioner Gwin withdraws candidacy |

A write-in candidate for Supreme Court

The Montgomery Advertiser reports: Attorney Melinda Lee Maddox, who sued a decade ago to have the Ten Commandments monument removed from the state judicial building, is launching a write-in campaign for chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court to keep the man who had the monument placed there from returning to that position. ...

Maddox, who practices law in Mobile, said she has been a criminal defense attorney for almost 20 years and has taught constitutional law. ...

Maddox, in an email to the Advertiser, wrote that she filed paperwork Monday to name her campaign committee and filed a statement of economic interest with the Alabama Ethics Commission.

Maddox wrote that people can write in “Lynndi,” which she said is what people call her, on the ballot. -- Read the whole story --> Attorney launches write-in campaign for Ala. chief justice | The Montgomery Advertiser |

March 27, 2012

Newt got 2nd in votes, but could finish 3rd in Alabama GOP primary

The Birmingham News reports: The Republican presidential candidates have long since left Alabama, but the delegate race is not over.

Because of a close race between second- and third-place finishers Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney and some voting precincts that are split between congressional districts, Alabama Republicans still aren't sure who will win one of the state's 50 delegates, said Alabama Republican Party Executive Director T.J. Maloney. ...

The GOP said its official statewide vote was Santorum with 34.55 percent; Gingrich with 29.28 percent; and Romney with 28.97 percent. So if the individual ballot analysis in those split precincts awards the last delegate to Romney instead of Gingrich, it would mean the third-place Romney would win one more Alabama delegate than second-place Gingrich, a bit of an anomaly.

Because no one candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote, Alabama's delegates were awarded proportionally, according to Republican National Committee rules. -- Read the whole story --> Alabama Campaign 2012: State's GOP delegate race for 2nd, 3rd not over |

March 25, 2012

$3 million for a one-office statewide runoff

The Montgomery Advertiser reports: Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh was close to becoming the Republican nominee for president of the Public Service Commission in the March 13 primary, but she was shy of obtaining the majority of votes needed to move forward without a runoff.

Now, that runoff could cost the state more than $3 million during dire financial times. And, the turnout likely will be low with no other statewide office on the ballot, although there will be some local races.

In a comparable election four years ago, when Cavanaugh was vying for the same position and failed to secure a majority of the votes in the primary, only .04 percent of voters turned out, according to the secretary of state's office. -- Read the whole story --> PSC runoff could be costly | The Montgomery Advertiser |

March 24, 2012

Bone will not ask for a recount in judge's race

The Birmingham News reports: Lea Bone said this morning she would not seek a recount in the Republican primary for Jefferson County Circuit Court Place 13, despite only a 205-vote margin for Pat Thetford on March 13. ...

Since Thetford's and Bone's vote totals wound up within one-half of 1 percent of each other, Bone qualified to ask the Alabama Republican Party for the recount. She would have had to bear the estimated $10,000 cost. -- Read the whole story --> Lea Bone will not seek recount in Republican primary for Jefferson County Circuit Court Place 13 |

Bert Jordan will not be disbarred

The Birmingham News reports: Albert Jordan won a victory today in his effort to avoid disciplinary action by the Alabama State Bar over his misdemeanor convictions for helping then-Jefferson County Sheriff Jim Woodward illegally access voters' criminal records in a contest of the 1998 sheriff's race outcome.

The Alabama Supreme Court withdrew its ruling in December that then said one of the federal crimes the Birmingham lawyer was convicted of committing was considered serious enough to be considered in bar proceedings to suspend Jordan's law license or disbar him.

Instead the court majority, including two specially appointed judges, ruled today that neither of Jordan's convictions could be considered "serious crimes" under state bar disciplinary rules. -- Read the whole story --> Birmingham lawyer's conviction over 1998 sheriff's race not enough to suspend, disbar, Alabama justices rule |

March 22, 2012

Bill to raise ethics-filing threshold passes House

The Capital Bureau reports: The Alabama House today voted to exempt public employees who make less than $75,000 annually from having to file economic disclosure forms with the Alabama Ethics Commission, a move that commission Director Jim Sumner called "long overdue."

Under current ethics laws, the salary threshold for public employees to avoid filing statements of economic interest is $50,000. ...

Sumner said his office receives about 60,000 economic disclosure forms currently, and that figure could drop by about one third should House Bill 136 pass the Senate and be signed into law by the governor. That would ease the burden on ethics staff, he said.

People who have authority to spend money and make hiring decisions must file statements of economic interest regardless of salary. -- Read the whole story --> House votes to raise income threshold for ethics forms |

Bill allowing recalls approved by Senate committee

The Birmingham News reports: A Senate committee today approved a bill aimed at giving Alabama voters the ability to recall public officials if enough people are displeased with their performance. ...

The Senate Constitution, Campaign Finance, Ethics, and Elections Committee approved the bill but only after committee members agreed that it would not move on the Senate floor without additional work. ...

The bill by Bedford is a proposed constitutional amendment that if approved by voters would authorize the Alabama Legislature to write a general law addressing the recall of elected state officials.

Bedford's bill provides guidelines that a recall vote could be set if voters, in a number equal to 25 percent of the total votes cast for an office, sign a petition filed with the Secretary of State. A recall also couldn't be done the first year following an election. -- Read the whole story --> Alabama Senate committee approves bill that would allow recall of public officials |

March 21, 2012

Graysville petitioners want mayor impeached (UPDATED)

The Birmingham News reports: A group of Graysville residents today filed in Jefferson County Circuit Court a petition to impeach Graysville Mayor Doug Brewer.

The petition accuses Brewer of willful neglect of duty, corruption in office, abuse of power and incompetence.

Graysville resident George Helms, one of the petition organizers, said 200 residents signed the petition. ...

The next step in the petition filing is for the Jefferson County Circuit Court to assign the matter to a judge.

Helms said the group of residents that filed the petition has done so on its own, but will likely hire an attorney to handle the case. The group began collecting signatures for the impeachment petition in December. -- Read the whole story --> Graysville residents file petition in Jefferson County court to impeach mayor |

UPDATE: The standards and procedure for impeachment cases are found in Alabama Code §§ 36-11-1 through 25. You may find the Code online on the Alison site; click on the "Code of Ala" tab on the left side.

Birmingham News ignored ALEC's influence in our latest voter ID bill

Media Matters for America reports: Dozens of voter ID laws have been introduced in state legislatures over the past two years, including particularly strict measures passed in seven states in 2011 -- Alabama, Kansas, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee and Wisconsin. There is widespread evidence that this surge of voter ID laws stems from model legislation crafted in 2009 by a conservative group called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). But a Media Matters analysis has found that the largest newspapers in the seven states that enacted voter ID laws in 2011 have largely ignored ALEC's influence. Indeed, of the newspapers examined, only Rhode Island's Providence Journal mentioned any connection between the state's voter ID bill and ALEC. ...

The Birmingham News Has Not Mentioned ALEC In News Coverage Since At Least 2009. Since January 1, 2009 (based on a LexisNexis search for "American Legislative Exchange Council"), ALEC is mentioned in Alabama's largest newspaper only twice -- in two op-eds amplifying ALEC studies on education and tax policy. Since January 1, 2009, no mentions of ALEC in the Birmingham News relate to voter ID laws. [LexisNexis, 1/1/09-3/16/12] -- Read the whole report --> How State Media Turned A Blind Eye To ALEC's Influence On The Voter ID Debate | Media Matters for America

March 19, 2012

Will there be a recount in the GOP's Circuit Judge 13 race?

The Birmingham News reports: Jefferson County Republican Party officials plan to meet Tuesday to canvass votes from March 13 and certify the results, the first steps toward a potential recount in the primary race for Circuit Court Place 13, party officials said. ...

Lea Bone trailed Pat Thetford by one-half of one percentage point in the Republican primary for Place 13, which would qualify her to request a recount if the difference holds.

Thetford had 20,022 votes, or 50.25 percent. Bone had 19,822 votes, or 49.75 percent.

Only provisional ballots remain uncounted, along with any military ballots that might trickle in through the end of the month. -- Read the whole story --> Jefferson County Republicans to certify vote results; recount possible |

Alabama gets a C- on state integrity

The Center for Public Integrity reports:
For years the world has witnessed Alabama through a bleak lens:

Alabama named worst governed state in America. ... Ex-governor guilty of bribery. ... Casino owner bribes legislator to get his vote for legalized gambling.

And, the unkindest headline of all: Alabama's new immigration law revives memories of water hoses and dogs used against civil rights marchers.

But now, led by a reform minded governor and legislature and buoyed by a spate of legislative reforms, Alabama has taken strides to shed its past. The state has approved new investigative subpoena powers for its Ethics Commission, limited spending by lobbyists and pushed to make financial disclosure and other information more easily searchable online.

Yet ethics reform in this state of 4.8 million residents remains a work in progress. And so Alabama receives a letter grade of C- and a numerical score of 72 from the State Integrity Investigation, ranking it 15th among the states. Not the bottom of the rung rating of the earlier headlines, but not yet near the top, either.

The study evaluated factors ranging from the public's access to information to political financing rules to ethics enforcement. -- Read the whole story --> Alabama: The story behind the score - State Integrity Investigation

March 18, 2012

Oh, poor me ... the "insiders" are moaning about Roy Moore and Harry Lyon

The Birmingham News reports: The general election matchup for Alabama chief justice between Democrat Harry Lyon and Republican Roy Moore apparently have some so unhappy that they are mulling over possible options that might give voters another choice.

That possible other choice might come from someone who runs as an independent, said a number of political insiders who in recent days have been part of conversations about seeking an alternative to Moore and Lyon.

The concerns about both Moore and Lyon are not new but now that both men have won nomination for chief justice, the concerns have taken on a new urgency, said those with knowledge of the discussions. -- Read the whole story --> Alabama political insiders consider an 'anybody but Roy Moore or Harry Lyon' candidate |

My comments: All this wailing has as much effect as a hound dog's baying does on the moon. All the talk of an independent candidate is just hot air. It is too late to qualify an independent candidate. Independent candidates' petitions were due to the Secretary of State by 5 p.m. on the day of the first primary, which was 13 March. Ala. Code § 17-9-3.

If the "insiders" want to do something, they are going to have to get Lyon or Moore out of the race. Ala. Code § 17-13-23 says, "The state executive committee [of a political party] ... where a vacancy may occur in any nomination, either by death, resignation, revocation, or otherwise, ... may fill such vacancy, either by action of the committee itself or by such other method as such committee may see fit to pursue."

Judge Howard Hawk qualifies as independent

The Huntsville Times reports: Marshall County Circuit Judge Howard Hawk, a former Democrat denied access to the March 13 Republican primary ballot, has been certified by the Alabama Secretary of State to run as an independent for re-election, his campaign said Saturday.

Hawk submitted 5,200 signatures requesting that he be placed on the Nov. 6 ballot as an independent. He only needed 774 to qualify. ...

A longtime Democrat, Hawk switched to the Republican party in December 2010. Less than a month later, 27 of 29 members of the Marshall County Republican Party Executive Committee voted to ask Hawk to remain a Democrat. -- Read the whole story --> Marshall County Circuit Judge Howard Hawk certified to run as an independent in November |

March 17, 2012

City of Pinson to receive bailout from Section 5

The Birmingham News reports: The city of Pinson is about to become the first in Alabama to be exempt from the section of the Voting Rights Act that requires certain local governments to have their elections overseen by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Pinson and the Justice Department agreed in writing to excuse the small Jefferson County community from Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act because it has no history of discrimination against minority voters. ...

The Justice Department's review of Pinson's application included interviews with minority voters in Pinson, according to the written consent decree. Pinson was formed in 2004 and its population is about 78 percent white, 17 percent black and 4 percent Hispanic. No minority candidate has ever run for elected office in Pinson, according to the agreement, which also calls for a new citizens' advisory group to explore ways to increase opportunities for voter registration, have more diversity among poll workers and increase opportunities generally for political participation in Pinson's elections. -- Read the whole story --> City of Pinson is first in Alabama to win exemption from Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act |

March 15, 2012

Jefferson County contractor wants to bust the aggregate contribution limits in federal elections

iWatch News reports: As unlimited contributions flow into super PACs this year, one man is at the center of a new effort to allow people to donate more money, to more candidates, at the national stage.

"I don't believe government is there to limit us," Shaun McCutcheon told iWatch News.

McCutcheon is a 44-year-old general contractor in Alabama. He's the owner, founder and president of Coalmont Electrical Development. He's a member of the Republican Party who admits he may have a bit of a libertarian streak. And he's also the treasurer of a super PAC called the "Conservative Action Fund."

That's a group that spent more than $43,000 opposing House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) in Tuesday's GOP primary in Alabama, although it has mostly targeted Democrats with its attacks. -- Read the whole story --> GOP super PAC men seek to overturn donation limits | iWatch News by The Center for Public Integrity

McCutcheon's request for an advisory opinion is available here

* If I had called him "local man," you would have thought it was an Onion story.

Campaign for Primary Accountability

The Birmingham News reported earlier this week: The Campaign for Primary Accountability PAC had spent about $160,000 as of Thursday on direct mail, emails, phone calls and television advertising against Bachus. It is still a fraction of the $1.5 million Bachus' campaign spent through the end of February, but the Texas-based political action committee that targets longtime incumbents in normally safe districts of either party has helped Beason by highlighting Bachus' troubles. -- Read the whole story --> Campaign 2012, 6th Congressional District: No cakewalk election for Rep. Spencer Bachus

The Campaign has sent at least seven mailers in the two weeks before the election. I have collected all the mailers I received here.

Voting machines are so smart/dumb they reject ballots because of one dot

The Mobile Press-Register reports: A printing mistake on some Mobile County ballots in Tuesday's election caused electronic voting machines to reject them -- forcing poll workers to count roughly 3,000 ballots by hand into the early morning hours, Probate Court officials said today.

"This little white dot," said Probate Judge Don Davis, pointing to a white, donut-shaped mark barely one-tenth of an inch wide.

The tiny error, though, ended up in an important spot, on the security markings that let the electronic machines know whether to count it. The markings look like a bar code stretching along the side of the ballot.

The faulty marks appeared only on Republican primary ballots for precincts within the contested Mobile County Commission District 3. Not all of the District 3 ballots were affected, officials said. -- Read the whole story (and see a picture of the dot) --> Mobile County ballot problems caused by tiny printing error |

"Recount possible in race for Jefferson County Circuit Court Place 13"

The Birmingham News reports: The two contestants in the Republican primary for Jefferson County Circuit Court Place 13 will have to wait up to two weeks before knowing if there will be a recount in a race in which only about 200 votes separate them, officials said.

Pat Thetford led Lea Bone by that small margin in a race in which there were about 40,000 votes cast, according to unofficial county results. Military, overseas, absentee and provisional ballots remain uncounted.

Alabama law allows an automatic recount if two candidates wind up within one-half of one percentage point apart after the vote is certified and declared official. But that only applies to general elections, said Probate Judge Alan King, Jefferson County's top election official.

Primaries in Alabama are run by the political parties, which certify the results. A decision on if there will be a recount in the Thetford-Bone race, or how it would be done, is up to the Republican Party, King said. -- Read the whole article --> Recount possible in race for Jefferson County Circuit Court Place 13 |

Thanks for the shout-out ...

from Kyle Whitmire on The Second Front of Weld for Birmingham.

March 13, 2012

Judge Howard Hawk will run as an independent

The Huntsville Times reports: Marshall County presiding Circuit Judge Howard Hawk expects to be on the ballot in November as an independent candidate.

Hawk said he will turn in over 5,000 signatures to the Alabama Secretary of State's office today to qualify. A longtime Democrat, Hawk switched to the Republican party in December 2010. Less than a month later, 27 of 29 members of the Marshall County Republican Party Executive Committee voted to request Hawk to remain a Democrat. -- Read the whole story --> Marshall County Judge Howard Hawk to turn in signatures to run as an independent |

"Military ballots may decide election"

The Montgomery Advertiser reports: If primary elections are close enough today in 29 counties, including Montgomery and Elmore, the results might not be known until near the end of the month.

More than 1,000 military and overseas absentee ballots won't be counted until later in the month, which could make some races too close to call today.

That includes the GOP presidential contest, where the winner may not become known today if the non-absentee vote totals show the race is too close to call. There are also absentee ballots, the secretary of state's office did not know how many, sent to Alabamians living elsewhere in the United States.

County officials have mailed 1,144 ballots to Alabamians living overseas or stationed in military bases in foreign countries, according to Deputy Secretary of State Emily Thompson. -- Read the whole story --> Military ballots may decide election | The Montgomery Advertiser |

Fifty GOP delegates to be divided in Alabama primary

The Birmingham News reports: Alabama's 50-delegate prize is especially large for a small state and if the race is as close as recent polls suggest, today's Republican presidential primary is likely to divide it among at least three of the candidates. ...

Here is how Alabama's 50-delegate package is broken down: There are 26 at-large delegates, three delegates each from the seven congressional districts, plus three delegate slots for the state's top three party officials.

Every state starts out with 10 at-large delegates, according to the party rules, five for each U.S. Senate seat. The second group of "bonus" at-large delegates is where Alabama Republicans were rewarded for their loyalty. Alabama received 16 bonus delegates for supporting John McCain in 2008, electing Republican governors and senators, electing almost all Republican members of Congress, and electing a Republican majority in the state legislature.

If any one candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote today, those 26 at-large delegates will go to the winner. But with recent polling showing Romney, Gingrich and Santorum nearly even, those 26 delegates are likely to be divided proportionally among them. A candidate has to receive at least 20 percent of the vote to be awarded any of the at-large delegates. ...

Within the state's seven congressional districts, any candidate who wins the majority will win all three delegates from that district. If not, then the candidate who won the most votes gets two delegates, and the second place finisher gets one. Again, a candidate has to receive at least 20 percent of the vote to win any of them. -- Read the whole story --> GOP candidates likely to share Alabama's large, 50-delegate prize |

Adventures in voting

I went to vote in the primary this morning. I showed my Medicare card to the polling official. She said, "We need something with your address on it."

Me: "No, ma'am, you don't. This is an acceptable form of identification under the law." [Ala. Code § 17-9-30.]

She: "Let me go check this on the computer."

In the meantime, the other polling official has found my name on the poll book.

The first polling official can't find whatever it is she is looking for "on the computer" and walks to a sign by the entrance. The sign lists all the acceptable forms of ID. Finally, she returns with my ID and says, "If he is on the book, let him vote."

The justification usually given by Republican legislators pushing voter-ID laws is the prevention of impersonation of the voter. The theory has been that a Social Security card, a Medicare card, etc. are so valuable that I will not let it out of my possession. Those government ID do not have my address on them, nor does my passport -- the gold standard of government-issued picture IDs. So, why did the poll worker ask for an "address ID"? Perhaps she had been told that in training.

Being a poll official is a tough job. I know because I have served as one. But it is made tougher by training that tells poll workers that the purpose of an ID is to check my address.

March 11, 2012

"Alabama public corruption trials focus on bribes vs. donations"

The Birmingham News reports: Campaign contributions are the lifeblood of politics. But when exactly does a campaign contribution be­come a bribe? That's been a central question in the state's last two major public corruption trials as prosecutors ac­cused public officials of swapping donations for offi­cial actions. Defense law­yers say the line is fuzzy be­tween what is legal and what is not and say they hope the U.S. Supreme Court will review the bribery conviction of former Gov. Don Siegelman and offer up some clarity.

But others say that, if the line is drawn too tightly, then it would be nearly im­possible to prosecute poli­ticians for trading official actions for donations. ...

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, in upholding Sie­gelman's conviction on the bribery charge, found that, while there has to be an ex­plicit agreement to swap money and action, it doesn't have to be verbalized. Jurors are free to interpret the ac­tions of defendants in deter­mining whether there was a corrupt deal, the court ruled.

Siegelman's lawyers have argued that loose standards and lack of clarity from the courts are dangerous and could lead to overzealous prosecutions. -- Read the whole story --> Alabama public corruption trials focus on bribes vs. donations |

March 5, 2012

"Thousands mark anniversary of historic march"

The Montgomery Advertiser reports: Thousands of ac­tivists walked across one of America's most famous bridges Sunday, saluting the 1965 Vot­ing Rights Act and calling for the rejection of Alabama's tough new immigration law.

The anniversary of the his­toric march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965 attracted many organizations, from labor unions to civil rights groups and each seemed to have signs con­demning the legislation.

The Rev. Al Sharpton men­tioned it in the middle of the Ed­mund Pettus Bridge on Sunday afternoon, citing past gains and needs for future demonstrations to right perceived wrongs. -- Read the whole story --> Thousands mark anniversary of historic march | The Montgomery Advertiser |

"Candidate says Alabama Supreme Court rulings favor corporate interests"

The Mobile Press-Register reports: The Alabama Supreme Court race between Tommy Bryan and Debra Jones is bringing new attention to a oft-heard political theme: the potentially corrupting influence of special interest donations in judicial campaigns. But this time there's a twist.

Jones is offering an example as she decries the influence of large campaign spending by political action committees.

The circuit judge from Anniston pointed to a state Supreme Court decision last year overturning an $8.5 million verdict that favored a passenger injured in a traffic accident in 2003. The court ordered a new trial after finding that Etowah County Judge William Rhea improperly asked prospective jurors whether they would be willing to serve on a trial expected to last several weeks. ...

Said Jones: "Common sense will tell you if you take a $25,000 PAC donation, you're going to be influenced -- period." -- Read the whole story --> Candidate says Alabama Supreme Court rulings favor corporate interests |

March 2, 2012

Amicus briefs supporting Siegelman cert petition filed

Rick Hasen comments on and links to two important "friend of the court" briefs filed in the Siegelman case in the U.S. Supreme Court. See Powerful Amicus Briefs Supporting Cert. in Siegelman Case | Election Law Blog.

March 1, 2012

"State, county officials blame each other for absentee ballot fiasco"

The Montgomery Advertiser reports: The state of Alabama filed a response Wednesday to a temporary restraining order issued over absentee ballots that were sent late to military and overseas voters.

The response filed Wednesday lists some of the precautions the secretary of state's office took and the special circumstances that led to the delays.

County and state election officials, meanwhile, sparred over where to place the blame for the delays.

The U.S. Justice Department filed a suit late Friday against Alabama and Secretary of State Beth Chapman alleging that the state failed to send absentee ballots to military and overseas voters by the required deadline for the March 13 primaries. -- Read the whole story --> State, county officials blame each other for absentee ballot fiasco | The Montgomery Advertiser |