Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Alabama Lawsuit to Force Special U.S. Senate Election

A Bipartisan Lawsuit has been filed against Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley claiming he illegally delayed a Special Election for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Bentley appointee Luther Strange. The appointment was due to the selection of former U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions as the Attorney General,

State Auditor Jim Zeigler, a Republican, and retired District Attorney Tommy Chapman of Evergreen, a Democrat, say Bentley clearly defied the Law when he delayed the Senate Election until the November 2018 Election cycle.

The suit, e-filed Sunday in Montgomery County Circuit Court, asks for a Declaratory Judgment that the Bentley setting is Illegal and an Injunction requiring him to reset the Election as soon as possible.

Bentley's appointment of former State Attorney General Luther Strange to the U.S. Senate should have required a Special Election as soon as possible under Alabama Law, Zeigler said. "The whole thing stinks," Zeigler said. "We've got a Bentley appointed senator instead of a peoples' elected senator." “Under the illegal delay by Gov. Bentley, his anointed U.S. Senator gets a free ride for almost two years before an elected Senator can take office,” Zeigler said.

Bentley’s appointment of Strange is “a dark cloud over Alabama,” Zeigler said.

The House Judiciary Committee still has Gov. Bentley impeachment on pause due to Strange’s request.

The Suit cites State law that requires a Special Election date to be set without delay if a U.S. Senate Seat becomes vacant more than four months prior to the next Election, which would be in November 2018.

Strange is to serve until an Election is held to fill the seat which ends in January of 2020.

The suit cites a Feb. 13th finding by the Legislative Reference Service that the Governor is required to set the Special Election "without delay."

§ 36-9-8, Ala. Code 1975

Whenever a vacancy occurs in the office of senator of and from the state of Alabama in the senate of the United States more than four months before a general election, the governor of Alabama shall forthwith order an election to be held by the qualified electors of the state to elect a senator of and from the state of Alabama to the United States senate for the unexpired term. If the vacancy occurs within four months of but more than 60 days before a general election, the vacancy shall be filled at that election. If the vacancy occurs within 60 days before a general election, the governor shall order a special election to be held on the first Tuesday after the lapse of 60 days from and after the day on which the vacancy is known to the governor, and the senator elected at such special election shall hold office for the unexpired term.

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