FORKLAND MAYOR POSTPONES RUNOFF ELECTION – SPARKS INVESTIGATION
Confusion in the Greene County town of Forkland after Tuesday’s runoff.
Voters went to their polling place, where they found a signed note from their mayor saying the election was postponed.
Forkland’s mayor, Ollie Vester, told our crew she postponed the election because she believes one or more of the runoff candidates do not live within Forkland’s town limits. She tells us she filed a complaint on this to the Greene County Circuit Clerk and is still waiting to hear back.
“We had to cancel it, that was just common sense,” said Vester, “because we did not have ballots prepared. We can’t get ballots prepared until we hear from the circuit clerk on the disqualifications.”
When asked if that is what the law states, Vester responded with,
“Yes it is. I operate fully and totally within the law.”
But Alabama’s Chief Election Officer, Secretary of State John Merrill says Vester’s actions are illegal. “She does not have the prerogative to cancel the election, Merrill said, “She does not have the legal authority to do that.” He found out about the postponed runoff from WVUA 23’s Chelsea Barton on Thursday morning.
Johnny Isaac is one of the Forkland mayoral candidates who should have been on the October 4th runoff ballot. He is outraged about the matter.
“We have been denied the right to vote,” he told WVUA 23, “A lot of people went through injury and death to have the right to vote. For one person to come up and say that the election is cancelled, that’s not satisfactory. We can’t deal with that.”
Merrill says activity like this will not be tolerated and that an investigation into this matter was launched Thursday morning.
He has a message for the people of Forkland.
“I want them to know justice will be served and that they will have their opportunity to voice their opinion on who will legally represent them as mayor and as municipal officials, members of the city council in the town of Forkland. We want to apologize to them for having to go through this process.”
Merrill says the Forkland runoff will be rescheduled. No date has been set.