Alabama Supreme Court reverses ruling on 2013 voter fraud case
The Alabama Supreme Court reversed a previous dismissal of Kelly Horwitz’s case contesting the results of the 2013 Tuscaloosa City School Board election on Wednesday. Horwitz’s case alleges that voter fraud by members of the UA greek system contributed to opponent Cason Kirby’s 416-329 victory for the District 4 board seat, according to a 2013 article by The Crimson White.
The decision will allow Horwitz to continue pursuing her case, which was dismissed by Tuscaloosa County Circuit Court Judge Jim Roberts on Nov. 13, 2013. Roberts stated that there were not enough potential illegal ballots to overturn the results.
Horwitz first filed the statement of contest on Sept. 6, 2013, and submitted a notice listing 397 allegedly illegal votes, including votes cast by approximately 375 UA students, on Oct. 11. The notice argued that the votes were illegal based on lack of residency, bribery or misconduct, and ineligibility.
The Supreme Court decision concluded that though Horwitz was unable to prove the illegality of the votes on the basis of misconduct in the form of bribery, there were 159 ballots due to be rejected, 105 of them based on residency and 54 based on other factors of ineligibility.
In August 2013, WVUA reported allegations of 10 UA students who registered to vote at the address of single family homes, and reports from al.com alleged that greek students were incentivized with free alcohol at two local bars, as well as UA Panhellenic and in-hours points, as a means of securing votes for UA alumnus and Board of Education chair candidate Lee Garrison and previous SGA president Kirby. Both Garrison and Kirby went on to secure victories over Denise Hills and Horwitz, respectively.
The Supreme Court’s reversal means that the case will be brought back to the Tuscaloosa County Circuit Court. Horwitz will need 87 votes invalidated to have the election results overturned, and will be required to subpoena the students who cast the illegal votes. Roberts’ previous ruling contended that there were only 70 ballots that could be called into question.