Gov. Don Siegelman's call for a statewide recount was dealt a setback Friday.
Attorney General Bill Pryor said a court order would be needed to open voting machines.
Siegelman sought an additional recount, after trailing Cong. Bob Riley by 3,000 votes in Tuesday's election.
The Riley camp opposes the recount.
"When he still thought he was ahead by 2,500 votes he said he hoped Bob Riley would not put the state through an election challenge and that Bob Riley should accept the will of the people," said Riley's attorney, Matt Lembke. "Now he wants to prolong it with a statewide recount, but there is only one problem. Alabama law does not allow such a recount."
Secretary of State Jim Bennett, the state's chief elections officer, advised county officials to wait for legal guidance before proceeding with any recount, which has never occurred statewide in Alabama.