Election Reform Likely

Because of a narrow margin of victory in relation to the total number of votes cast, Alabama's governor's race nearly landed in court, similar to the 2000 Presidential race.

University of Alabama law professor, Dr. Hugh Lee, represented a plaintiff in Florida over alleged absentee ballot irregularities. He now predicts Alabama will have to do something about its own election laws.

"There will probably be an initiative from the governor or legislature or both and I would expect that initiative to address specifically recounts and whether there needs to be an automatic recount statute when the margin is less than one percent, say, or two percent," said Lee. "We'll see hopefully some movement toward consolidating our various election code chapters."

Lee adds that he believes even poorly written or outdated state laws should apply to federal elections. The director of U.A.'s Student Legal Clinic says an automatic recount provision would be helpful in any close election.

"Because it de-politicizes the process of recounting votes so we can get an accurate count and by taking the decision to recount out of the political sphere," Lee said. "We're making it simply an administrative process that you do automatically. Like anything else, there's not really a way to characterize as political maneuvering or in some way funnying up the vote."

Lee said one problem Alabama and other states face is that voting methods have changed, but laws have just been added, rather than the entire code being rewritten.


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