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Dempsey orders new election for Hodges

By Staff
Melissa Cason
Hodges town residents will have to cast their votes one more time before a mayor can be named.
Franklin County Circuit Judge Terry Dempsey ordered a new election for mayor, which will be held on Nov. 25.
Mayoral candidate Nick Howard challenged the results of the Aug. 26 election in which he lost by one vote to Mayor Ed Crouch.
Dempsey ruled that two of Crouch's votes were illegally cast. Dempsey said that some residents voted illegally. During testimony, one man testified that he spends 28 days out of the month in Huntsville, but he does own property in Hodges.
"It is apparent by overwhelming eviadence that (the man in question) lives in Huntsville, Alabama," Dempsey said in his ruling. "(He) stated he voted for Ed Crouch."
Another registered voter was found to already be registered in Marion County.
The court also found that one of Howard's votes was cast illegally. One woman testified in court that she spends the week at her daughter's home in Huntsville in order to help care for her children.
Dempsey ordered that the illegal votes cast be subtracted from the totals, which left a tie of 56 votes for each candidate.
"The election for mayor of the town of Hodges is tied at 56 to 56," Dempsey said in his decision. "Neither candidate has received a majority of the votes."
The Code of Alabama decides what action is to be taken in such a case.
"If only two candidates are standing for election for any one office or offices, and neither candidate receives a majority, then the municipal governing body shall order a second or "runoff" election to be held on the sixth Tuesday next therefore following the regular election," states the Code.
"The town of Hodges is ordered to hold a runoff election between Edward Crouch and Nick Howard for the office of mayor on the sixth Tuesday after this opinion is released," Dempsey said in his ruling.
"Therefore, the runoff election for the office of mayor is to be held on November 25, 2008. All election law pertaining to a runoff election is to be complied with fully."