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Whatley says coin toss will be Wednesday, Hovey says he is unaware of this decision

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Jay Hovey and wife Anna.JPG (copy)

Incumbent Tom Whatley said the coin toss to decide the winner of the Republican State Senate District 27 race would be Wednesday and opponent Jay Hovey said he knew nothing about this. Pictured: Jay Hovey and his wife Anna Hovey. 

Early Wednesday morning around 6 a.m., a representative from incumbent Tom Whatley said the Republican State Senate District 27 race would be decided by coin toss on Wednesday.

Around 11 a.m., opponent Jay Hovey said he was unaware of this and has no representative there.

“I have heard nothing at all about the scheduling of a coin flip this week,” Hovey stated. “In fact, in the last conversation I had with Chairman John Wahl on Sunday, I understood that both Whatley and I were unavailable until after the Fourth of July holiday.”

Whatley’s statement said the coin toss would be held in Birmingham and Hovey said none of his attorneys are aware of any such notice.

Hovey and his legal team filed a motion for a re-hearing with the ALGOP Candidate Committee after the hearing on Saturday and are waiting for a response. If the motion is accepted, the re-hearing would go before the same committee.

“My only wish is that my party, the Republican Party, stands by their long-standing pledge to fight for voter and election integrity and revise their decision to accept an illegal vote,” Hovey said. “I would hope that with ALEA’s confirmation that it is indeed an illegal vote that they would stand by their pledge.”

During the hearing on Saturday, Hovey said he and his team told the committee that the provisional ballot that was in consideration for being counted was “cast by an unregistered voter” and is an illegal vote.

After the committee heard from each party, this provisional vote for Whatley was accepted and the committee declared the race a tie. That vote was cast by Patsy Kenney in Tallapoosa County.

The committee then declared that the election would be decided “by lot” but did not release any information about when the tie breaker would occur.

“The party felt compelled to go with their feelings instead of the facts and the facts were substantiated by ALEA a day later,” Hovey said.

On Sunday, ALEA released a statement to the press questioning the validity of the provisional ballot that was counted.

According to the statement, ALEA discovered that the voter still has a driver license issued by the State of Georgia. She did visit the ALEA Driver License Office in Opelika to apply for an Alabama Driver’s License, but “did not complete an issuance transaction and was never issued an Alabama Driver License.”

“Voter registration information from ALEA’s Driver License Division is only sent after the credential is issued and the customer signs the required voter declaration, which did not occur in this specific incident,” the release said. “Voter registration information is filed nightly by ALEA’s Driver License Division to the Secretary of State’s Office to ensure each citizen’s voter registration is up to date.”

Hovey said this release from ALEA that was sent out to the media the day after the hearing confirms that his position is correct.

In the motion filed with the state party, it requests the party to consider ALEA’s confirmation as new evidence and consider that Hovey’s argument was factual.

“Whatley’s sudden change of schedule is in no doubt directly related to the public unraveling of the legitimacy of his additional provisional vote,” Hovey wrote in an email.

In the statement from Whatley provided by his consultant Heather Wilson Wednesday morning, Whatley said that neither he nor Hovey will be attending the coin flip, but will have representatives present along with other witnesses.

After the flip, this statement said both parties will agree to the following:

1. Not run a write in campaign

2. Not sue or appeal the ruling of the Alabama Republican Party

3. Agree that the flip is final

4. Agree that all votes cast to get to the tie were legal

5. Agree to at the very least encourage their supporters to support the Republican ticket in its entirety in November of 2022

6. Agree that the Republican Party was correct in their meeting and ruling on 25 June.

Hovey said Wednesday afternoon that he had not seen this agreement list.

“I appreciate the Republican Steering Committee and I respect their decisions as I stated through my attorneys on the 25th,” Whatley said in the statement released Wednesday morning. “I felt it extremely important to have Mrs. Kenney’s vote go through the process.”

Whatley stated that Kenney was deposed and cross examined by his attorney Joel Blankenship from Blankenship Law in Birmingham and Hovey’s attorney Bert Jordan from Wallace Jordan in Birmingham. Her deposition was played to the steering committee then Whatley’s team and Hovey’s team gave their arguments about the ballot.

Whatley wrote that this ballot “was the most scrutinized ballot in Alabama this year.”

“Ultimately, the ballot was delivered to the Steering Committee for them to open and decide. The decision to count it was correct,” he wrote. “Win or lose the coin toss, helping a constituent like Mrs. Kenney have her ballot counted was the correct thing to do and I am glad to have served her as her state senator.

“I respect the decision and authority of the Steering Committee and do hereby agree to participate through my representative with the terms outlined above that in my opinion offer the best chance for Republican victory in the fall under the current circumstances and decisions,” he continued.

The winner of this race will run against Democrat candidate Sherri Reese of Opelika in the general election in November.

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