MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Voters and elected officials in Greene and Macon County have filed a class action suit in federal court against Governor Bob Riley and his Task Force Commander John Tyson.
The complaint alleges that the Governor has violated the Voting Rights Act by nullifying the votes of the electorates in Greene and Macon Counties who approved constitutional amendments in 2003 authorizing electronic bingo operations in their counties.
The complaint also alleges that the raids carried out by the Governor and his Task Force violated the Ku Klux Klan Act and the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.
The Legislature of Alabama approved the constitutional amendments and authorized the people of Greene and Macon County to vote on electronic bingo and to allow the local sheriff to regulate it in 2004.
** Update - Governor Bob Riley's Office Response**
"We haven't seen the lawsuit yet so I can't comment on what it says specifically, but we have seen the statement the casino lawyers have released and it's just plain silly. The Task Force on Illegal Gambling has done nothing but enforce the law fairly, impartially and everywhere it is being broken. Since the Task Force was established, illegal gambling operations have either shut down or been prevented from opening in Walker, Houston, Madison, Etowah, St. Clair, Lowndes, Jefferson, Greene and Mobile counties. Any claim the Task Force's work is targeted to just one area or against one particular group is absolutely false and does not square with the facts. Further, no one in this state has approved 'electronic bingo,' despite what the casino lawyers claim. Nowhere in the amendments that authorize bingo in Macon or Greene counties does the phrase 'electronic bingo' even appear, and the Alabama Supreme Court has ruled that these amendments -- including the amendment in Greene County -- authorized only the 'ordinary game of bingo.' No amendment in Alabama authorizes the use of machines that take money and dispense prizes on the basis of chance to play bingo. No one can argue with a straight face that people were playing the 'ordinary game of bingo' on these illegal slot machines."
Jeff Emerson, Communications Director for Gov. Riley