PROBATE JUDGE CALLS FOR SUPPORT OF CONTROVERSIAL REGISTRAR

HALE COUNTY —Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey appointed Rosie Lyles, 79, to the Hale County Board of Registrars Monday.

Lyles was charged with several counts of felony voter fraud more than a decade ago and plead guilty to one misdemeanor charge.

“Naturally, my reaction is to support the governor,” Hale County Probate Judge Arthur Crawford said.

He swore Lyles in Tuesday.

Crawford has a message for his constituents.

“Give Mrs. Lyles a chance,” he said.  “It was a misdemeanor. It was not a conviction of moral interptitude. We do believe an individual should have a second chance. Naturally, this is not positive for the county for an individual who has been convicted, to be in the voter registrars. but again, it’s not my place to question the governor,” Crawford stressed.

Ivey’s press secretary Gina Maiola told WVUA 23 News Reporter Chelsea Barton that a background check was not done on Lyles prior to her appointment. Maiola says background checks are not standard for positions like county registrars. Once made aware of Lyles misdemeanor conviction, the governor’s office notified Secretary of State John Merrill.

“Mrs. Lyles is an eligible individual that is able to serve in the capacity of a registrar because she meets those requirements that are specified in the code and constitution of Alabama,” Merrill said.

Both Merill and Crawford are assuring voters there are always checks and balances. They said there has been no reason thus far to remove Rosie Lyles from the Board of Registrars in Hale County.

“Know that it will be monitored,” Crawford said. “There are checks and balances. There are three who make up the board of registrars. They oversee one another.”

“Because this is a particular area of concern, due to the background of Mrs. Lyles, I think it is important to note that we will be giving attention to her work product to make sure she does what she needs to do,” Merrill said.

WVUA 23 did speak with Rosie Lyles briefly on the phone. When asked if she’d like to make a comment regarding her appointment, she replied, “No I would not. I don’t.”

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