A spokesman for Republican Bob Riley said Thursday the Alabama Supreme Court has agreed to consider Riley's motion asking the court to block a statewide recount requested by Democrat Governor Don Siegelman. Spokesman David Azbell says the court has set oral arguments for Nov. 21. Siegelman has called for a recount in the hopes that it will erase Riley's 3,100-vote lead.
But Riley attorney Matt Lembke said the emergency motion asks the court to halt all recounts statewide while it considers whether such a recount would violate state law. The certified vote in Alabama's 67 counties showed Riley defeating Siegelman by 3,111 votes out of more than 1.3 million cast.
Riley's attorneys filed an emergency motion with the Supreme Court Thursday after a Pike County judge refused to stop a recount. Siegelman supporters have filed papers requesting a recount in all counties.
But Republican Attorney General Bill Pryor issued an opinion advising county election officials that doing so would be a criminal misdemeanor. Pryor said the voting machines were placed under seal in the counties after the Nov. 5 election and cannot have the seal broken simply on a recount request.
Lembke said court action has been taken in four counties to block planned recounts. He said Pike became the first in which a judge refused to stop the requested recount, prompting the emergency filing.
Earlier Thursday, Russell County Probate Judge Albert Howard, a Democrat, had hoped to make his east Alabama county the first in the state to do a recount. He had machines ready to begin the count in Phoenix City.
But Democrat Sheriff Tommy Boswell, who's responsible for protecting the ballots, said he was going to follow Pryor's advice not to unseal the ballots.
Steps toward a recount also were being taken in Choctaw and Tuscaloosa counties.