Special election plans ongoing

Published 11:50 pm Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Selma will move on with its election in Ward 3 unless word from the U.S. Department of Justice stops it this week.

The Justice Department has until Saturday, March 12, to do so.

But from city attorney Jimmy Nunn’s report Tuesday at the Selma City Council, it doesn’t appear the Justice Department will step in.

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Preclearance from the Justice Department is needed to any change affecting voting, even though it may appear minor or indirect to maintain every person’s right to vote. The Justice Department has a minimum of 60 days to respond to any request for preclearance. Saturday will mark that day. Preclearance is needed for those states, mostly in the South, which had used a device — literacy test or other means — and in which less than 50 percent of the population was registered to vote in 1964.

Nunn told the council if events proceeded, the mayor would call for the election on Tuesday, March 15, which would be the first day for candidates to qualify.

“Some people have already gotten a head start by the yard signs I’ve seen,” Nunn said.

The election is scheduled for Tuesday, May 24.

Nunn said he would have several resolutions prepared for the upcoming council meeting regarding the election, including one in which the council appoints the city clerk to perform the duties of the mayor in an election and a resolution to ratify the mayor calling for an election.

Absentee voting begins April 19. The last day to apply for a regular absentee ballot is May 19 before 5 p.m.