City seeks help from AG

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 23, 2008


An opinion from Attorney General Troy King&8217;s office could decide if the Selma city clerk conducts this year&8217;s municipal election.

A majority of the Selma City Council voted Monday night to ask the attorney general if they could take the election day duties from City Clerk Lois Williams and give them to Probate Judge Kim Ballard.

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Some council members did not like the way the city handled the special bond election in February. Some balloting sites did not open on time and city workers damaged some voting machines by placing them at polling places in the rain.

Councilman Cecil Williamson raised the issue shortly after the February bond issue several times publicly, including on a talk radio show. The city clerk responded several months ago with a letter, saying she did her job correctly and Mayor James Perkins Jr. supports her and she supports the mayor.

Those words came back home Monday night when Councilman Reid Cain pointed out the law says a disinterested party should conduct the municipal election if the mayor cannot.

Councilman Johnnie Leashore said Cain and others wanted to harass Williams. He urged the council not to seek the attorney general&8217;s opinion.

Councilwoman Bennie Ruth Crenshaw said Williams has conducted a couple of elections for the city without any challenges.

Council President George Evans said the majority of the council did not mean Williams couldn&8217;t do her job. But candidates want a fair election. They have raised questions about past elections when laptop computers showed up in some polling places.

Williams sat stoically at her position in front of the council during the discussion, which lasted about an hour.

City attorney Jimmy Nunn said he does not know when the attorney general would return an opinion.