Clarke County Democrat

Kelley questions his 556-vote loss to Jackson in House race

Based on Perry County commissioner’s indictment for voting irregularities



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The recent indictment of a Perry County commissioner on allegations of misusing absentee ballots and voting more than one ballot have caused some to question a close Alabama House of Representatives race from the 2022 General Election.

Fred Kelley of Monroeville is questioning his 556-vote loss to longtime legislator Thomas E. Jackson of Thomasville in House District 68. The district includes a small portion of Perry County.

Kelley ran as a Republican. Jackson is a Democrat.

Jackson won the race 9,537 to 8,981.

Albert F. Turner Jr., Perry County Commission chairman and a longtime civil rights activist, was recently indicted on two counts, one for misusing absentee ballots by willfully voting for another voter or falsifying the absentee application or verification documents and too, that he voted more than once, depositing more than one ballot for the same office and knowingly attempted to vote when not entitled to do so.

District Attorney Michael Jackson announced the indictments in January just days prior to going out of office. Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, who would be leaving his position, too, accompanied DA Jackson when the Turner indictments were announced.

Michael Jackson and Turner are longtime political opponents.

Turner has not yet been formally presented with the indictments or arrested.

Kelley

Kelley

House District 68 was reconfigured when legislative districts were redrawn to include all of Monroe County, a portion of eastern Conecuh, as a portion of eastern Clarke, a small slice of Wilcox, an L-shaped portion of Marengo and the tip of Perry County that includes Uniontown.

The district has been predominantly black for years and is still but was less so with the redistricting. The inclusion of all of Monroe County, a predominantly white county, gave Republicans hope that they could unseat Jackson, a black Democrat who has represented the district since 1994.

Fred Kelley, who is white, opted to challenge Jackson as a Republican. He is a longtime resident and businessman of Monroeville who grew up in the Sandflat community south of Thomasville.

Thomas Jackson is a retired educator and minister.

Kelley told The Monroe Journal, the newspaper in Monroeville, “If there’s possible corruption, I’m glad the Alabama Attorney General’s office is looking into it. I want to serve our citizens. All I ask is for an open and fair election for District 68 and for the state of Alabama.”

Jackson

Jackson

“I’m upset with the Uniontown box dictating to Monroe County who won the election,” Kelley told The Monroe Journal. He made similar remarks to the online Alabama Daily News in an earlier story, “I do not believe it is fair [to] the people of Monroe County, my home county, the only county entirely in this district, [who] overwhelming voted for me and have their votes nulled by alleged voter fraud.”

Kelley received 36 votes to Jackson’s 620 votes in the two Perry County precincts in the district.

The Perry County boxes, in the Uniontown area, are predominantly black.

Jackson did not mention race in remarks to Alabama Daily News but said he campaigned hard in Perry County because it was new to District 68.

“I spent a lot of time from June up until November getting myself known there. We got into the churches and met folks. Every Sunday, we were there.”

Jackson continued, “It was a fair election, as far as I’m concerned, unless they can prove something. They’re making allegations. I want to look at facts.”

More recently when asked he said, “I don’t know why they are even talking about this. I don’t like my name being called into question. I won the election fair and square.”

He did note that winners of districts with multiple counties are based on the total cumulative votes and not the votes of an individual county.

The election results are certified and there are no recourses now to challenge the outcome other than perhaps a lawsuit.

The official totals for the district are listed:

Jackson defeats Kelley:

Clarke: 2,513 to 1,979.

Conecuh: 1,426 to 1,148.

Marengo: 1,643 to 1,152.

Monroe: 2,658 to 4,341.

Perry: 622 to 37.

Wilcox: 675 to 324.

Total:  9,537 to 8,981.

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