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Judge ponders election challenge; sets another hearing

A hearing on a motion to dismiss the challenge was held Monday with Judge Henry D. “Butch” Binford taking the matter under advisement.
In cases like this before I’ve hired hand writing experts to look at things
A Houston County judge will rule whether an election challenge was filed legally after briefly hearing from attorneys in Dothan’s election challenge. A hearing on a motion to dismiss the challenge was held Monday with Judge Henry D. “Butch” Binford taking the matter under advisement.

Joel Williams, who represents incumbent District Two commissioner Amos Newsome, argued the challenge was not filed within the time allotted under Alabama law. Challenger Lamesa Danzey filed her challenge August 19; six days after results were certified. Danzey’s attorney, James Anderson, said under Alabama civil procedure laws the five days allowed does not include weekends.

If Binford rules in favor of Danzey---and that seems likely---a hearing on the election challenge will be held December 12 and 13.

Newsome initially appeared to have won the election by 14 votes on the strength of controversial absentee ballots cast. Despite Danzey carrying both polling places in the district, Newsome received 119 of 124 absentee votes.

“In cases like this before I’ve hired hand writing experts to look at things,” Anderson said following Monday’s hearing. The voter themselves have to sign that (absentee application) and the voter has to sign the affidavit,” he said.

Additionally, Anderson claims in the challenge Newsome was declared the winner because of “bribery, intimidation or other misconduct calculated to prevent a fair, free, and full exercise of the elective franchise.”

Williams declined comment.

A criminal investigation was recently conducted by investigations working for the Houston County Sheriff’s Office. Those results were turned over to District Attorney Doug Valeska to present to a grand jury.

Sources familiar with the case say they expect indictments to be issued but it’s not clear if Newsome has been implicated of any wrongdoing.

The timing of indictments, if any, is not known at this time.

Neither Danzey nor Newsome attended the hearing held Monday.

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