Confusion over James' right to choose recounted precincts - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Confusion over James' right to choose recounted precincts

Posted: Updated: June 9, 2010 04:01 PM CDT

Posted by: Sally Pitts - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - State Republican Party Chairman Mike Hubbard says it may be the middle of next week before a recount is completed in the Republican runoff for governor.

That's because election equipment has to be returned to some counties to recount the ballots.

Tim James is seeking a recount in 40 counties after finishing a close third. The party's tally from the primary June 1 shows James 167 votes behind second-place finisher Robert Bentley.

The counties where James is requesting a recount are:

Autauga
Baldwin
Bibb
Blount
Calhoun
Chambers
Chilton
Clarke
Cleburne
Coffee
Colbert
Covington
Cullman
Dale
DeKalb
Elmore
Escambia
Etowah
Geneva
Houston
Jackson
Jefferson
Lauderdale
Lawrence
Lee
Limestone
Madison
Marshall
Mobile
Monroe
Montgomery
Morgan
Pike
Shelby
St. Clair
Talladega
Tallapoosa
Tuscaloosa
Walker 
Winston

Whoever wins the recount will face Bradley Byrne in the runoff election on July 13. That winner will face Democrat Ron Sparks in the November general election.

QUESTIONS OVER LEGALITY OF PICKING AND CHOOSING

There have been some questions and concerns that a candidate must have a full recount of all ballots or none at all. James' decision to pick only certain areas of the state for a recount has highlighted the confusion.

Alabama Code 17-16-21(a) clears up the confusion, however. It states that "any person with standing to contest the election under Sections 17-16-40 and 17-16-47 may petition the canvassing authority for a recount of any or all precinct returns."

The Alabama GOP says the language, " clearly states that a candidate may request a recount in one county, one precinct, 55 counties or 100 precincts. Candidates are free to select counties at their choosing as is prescribed by Alabama law."

The party itself has no power to force the candidate to choose or not to choose which counties or precincts may be included. The decision falls squarely on the James campaign.

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