Recount to be delayed in Butler County

Published 4:52 pm Monday, June 14, 2010

The Alabama Republican Party will proceed with a recount of all gubernatorial ballots cast across the state in the June 1 primary, but Probate Judge Steve Norman said the recount in Butler County will come a day later than originally planned.

The recount of Republican ballots originally scheduled for Tuesday will now happen on Wednesday at 9 a.m. at the courthouse annex.

Norman said the delay is because Election Systems & Software, the company that supplies equipment used to tabulate the election results, shipped the software on Monday instead of Friday.

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“With everything that happened on Friday, ES&S just stopped shipping,” said Norman.

The reason the company halted shipping, said Norman, is because of a flurry of activity coming from the Attorney General’s office, the Tim James’ campaign and the Alabama GOP on Friday afternoon.

Attorney General Troy King issued an opinion that a recount would not change which candidates would take part in a July 13 run-off election to determine the party’s candidate for governor. James could contest the election, but only after the run-off had taken place, said King. Both James and Mike Hubbard, chairman of the Alabama GOP, said King’s opinion left party officials reluctant to pursue a recount.

When the GOP certified the primary results on June 8, James was trailing Dr. Robert Bentley by 167 votes, who is in second place behind Bradley Byrne.

Secretary of State Beth Chapman, who requested the AG’s opinion on the matter, said in a released statement on Sunday she believed a recount should still happen.

“A recount for Mr. James is the one thing that everyone has agreed to and he has agreed to pay for that recount,” said Chapman. “The section of the Attorney General’s opinion pertaining to procedures after the recount only applies if the recount yields a different result than we received Primary Election Day, June 1.”

James decided on Sunday to pursue the recount after receiving Chapman’s release, said campaign spokesperson Brett Hall.

King released a statement to clarify his position on the recount and said James had accused him of “blocking his recount from going forward.”

“That is simply not true,” said King. “My opinion said the recount could go forward, and, it is indeed going forward tomorrow.  If Mr. James wishes to challenge the primary election after tomorrow’s recount, he is certainly free to do so.  His challenge would be before the state Republican Party – not the Attorney General’s Office – and neither Mr. James nor the Republican Party is required to follow an Attorney General’s opinion.”