“I’m fully convinced that there are three candidates who do not meet residence qualifications,” Councilman Donnie Todd said at Monday night’s council meeting.
Todd made his statement after Councilman Donnie Guinn said he had been approached in stores and restaurants by residents who questioned certain candidates’ qualifications and asked what the city was going to do about it.
“It’s not just one contender, it could be two,” Guinn said.
“There are three,” Todd alleged.
Neither council member said publicly which municipal candidates they were referring to.
“Everybody has to play by the same rules,” Guinn said. “That’s what it boils down to.”
Todd said he had someone come by his house Sunday afternoon about the matter.
City attorney John Rea told the mayor and council it was not the city’s place to challenge any municipal race.
“It’s not a matter for the council,” he said. “It’s an elector issue.”
Rea said a challenge must be made by a citizen, not an entity.
“It (the law) is pretty clear,” he said. “The law does not provide me or this council the ability to challenge this.”
Rea said normally a challenge is filed after the election, not before.
“It’s not an issue unless the person wins,” he said, adding that someone could probably seek a declaratory judgment prior to the election.
Rea said he was unsure if a judge would make a judgment prior to the election, but it is possible.
“It’s unprecedented for this council to bring declaratory action,” he said.
Guinn told the council he has received at least 50 complaints.
“I’m not going to point out anyone,” he said.
Rea said the city only provides election qualification forms for candidates to fill out.
“We accept it and record it,” he said.
According to the Alabama League of Municipalities’ election calendar, the last day a person can become a resident of the municipality and district and still be a candidate for election is May 30.
A statement of candidacy the city provides to each candidate is an affidavit that states the candidate has been a resident for a period of no less than 90 days at the time of the election, which is Aug. 28.
“I am duly qualified or will be so qualified to hold said office if elected thereto and I hereby request that my name be printed upon the official ballot at said election,” the statement of candidacy states.
Todd said Monday he would challenge the election of any one of the three candidates who he believes is not qualified for office but wins in their respective race.
As of Tuesday, the St. Clair County Circuit Clerk’s Office has not received any formal challenges pertaining to the upcoming municipal election.
Contact David Atchison at email@example.com