Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Judge rules Horwitz case can proceed with presented evidence

Kelly Horwitz will be allowed to continue with her case contesting 397 votes in the Aug. 27 District 4 Board of Education election. At least 392 of the votes being contested are student votes.

Judge James Roberts ruled on Friday that Horwitz and her attorney James Anderson may proceed with the evidence offered Oct. 15. At the hearing, Horwitz and Anderson presented the names of 397 students and evidence they believed disqualified said votes.

The list detailed reasons indicating the votes were “tainted by misconduct, fraud or corruption or offers to bribe, bribery, intimidation or other misconduct,” or indicating the voters were ineligible to vote or did not to meet the residency requirement.

Anderson said now, in proceeding with the case, a voter will be called in as a witness, it will be established that the voter was ineligible to vote in the election and that the voter will testify. By law, he said, as long as the individual tells the truth, he or she cannot incriminate themselves.

“It’s in the Alabama Code, that as long as they tell the truth while they’re on the stand, it doesn’t matter if they say, ‘Look, the only reason I registered is for the free drink,’ that’s okay. They’re fine. The law is in there to protect people, so they can testify and not worry about it,” Anderson said.

The Aug. 27 election was littered with allegations of voter fraud, including free drinks for votes and dishonest voter registration. Cason Kirby, a UA graduate and former SGA president, won the election, beating Horwitz 416 to 329.

In a memorandum filed by Horwitz Oct. 14, the allegations are detailed even further, largely focusing on the involvement of the UA greek community in the elections. Horwitz and Anderson allege Kirby was elected into the District 4 BOE chair by efforts of the Machine.

The memorandum goes on to examine emails and Facebook messages sent from members of Zeta Tau Alpha, Delta Gamma, Alpha Omicron Pi, Chi Omega, Kappa Delta and a fraternity listserv. The emails from Zeta Tau Alpha, Delta Gamma, Alpha Omicron Pi and Chi Omega all urge members to vote for Kirby.

In an emailed statement, Kirby’s attorney, Andy Campbell, denied all connections of Kirby to the voter fraud and said Horwitz’s argument was built on insinuations and sought to isolate a certain group of the student body.

“The contestant in her filing has used misstatements, innuendo and a handful of emails from students to argue that there was widespread bribery and illegal voting in this election,” the statement read. “This is not only untrue and unsupported by the evidence, it is totally at odds with Alabama Law. Rather than showing what specific voters were illegal as required by law, the contestant has labeled virtually every student who voted – more than 400 – as ‘tainted by fraud’ without any further evidence.”

After Roberts approved Horwitz to move forward with her case Friday, she released a statement denying Kirby’s accusation of her disenfranchisement of student voters.

“Let me be clear that this challenge has never been an effort to ‘disenfranchise’ student voters,” the statement read. “Nor, as a sorority alumna myself, do I disapprove of fraternities and sororities. …What is especially unfortunate in this case is that many students were misused: given bad advice or no advice about residency requirements and pressured by offers of private gain in exchange for their votes. I hope that those who ought to know better will treat them with more respect in the future, and that Tuscaloosa can look forward to a fully free and fair electoral process.”


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