Toure: Fight has never been about Brown

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 24, 2002

The Democratic Party primary election for the state House of Representatives District 67 seat has taken its share of twists and turns since LaTosha Brown bested a field of nine candidates on June 4.

Brown led all comers with 3,399 votes. Yusuf Salaam came in second with 2,148. In the June 25 runoff, however, Salaam defeated Brown by 138 votes.

The runoff results were contested before a five-member panel of the Alabama Democratic Party Executive Committee, which ruled unanimously in Salaam’s favor.

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That ruling was then appealed to the full state Democratic Party Executive Committee, which upheld the panel’s ruling.

Most recently, the case was taken to federal court by a group of private citizens led by longtime civil rights activist Marie Foster. The plaintiffs had sought, in part, to enjoin the Nov. 5 general election until the rightful Democratic candidate could be determined by the court.

In an unexpected turn of events, the case was dismissed Tuesday without prejudice at the request of Faya Rose Toure, an attorney for the plaintiffs. In effect, the plaintiffs asked to dismiss their own case.

Wednesday, The Times-Journal ran a story under the headline &uot;Elections are on, Brown bows out of fight to block District 67 race.&uot; An obviously exasperated Toure cited that headline as one more failure on the part of not only the newspaper but of many District 67 voters as well to &uot;get it.&uot;

The federal suit had alleged a number of election illegalities involving the District 67 race, among them absentee ballot fraud, illegal destruction of election materials, and unlawful entry of the storage area where election materials were kept.

The suit further alleged that illegal Republican Party crossover votes affected the outcome of the election in Salaam’s favor. &uot;If the vote of the majority can be diluted by the vote of the minority, then the right to vote is useless,&uot; Toure said. &uot;When they stole the evidence of illegal voting, they diluted the votes of those who voted legally. That’s why Marie Foster and the others who filed this case are outraged.

When Brown contested the runoff results before the five-member panel of the state Democratic Party, her attorneys subpoenaed all those who voted Republican in the primary election and then crossed over and voted Democrat in the runoff.

Toure contends that when Montgomery attorney Terry Davis, who chaired the panel, refused to compel those witnesses to testify, he blocked Brown’s ability to prove her case.

While the case is no longer being pursued in federal court, it is not over. Toure has asked Dallas County District Attorney Ed Greene to appoint a grand jury to investigate the charges of election illegalities.

She has also asked that criminal charges be brought against those who were subpoenaed to testify in the original election contest and who did not appear.

In recent weeks, a write-in campaign for Brown has been building momentum. Campaign placards stating &uot;Write in LaTosha Brown, Reclaim the Victory&uot; have begun appearing on Selma streets.

Meanwhile, the final twist in the District 67 race has yet to be written.