On February 14, Governor Robert Bentley signed a proclamation, which called for the special election to Alabama’s vacant U.S. Senate seat to be held on November 6, 2018.
According to state law, if the election is more than four months away, then the governor is to call a special election “forthwith.”
The Legal Information Institute at Cornell University Law School defines forthwith as, “A term found in contracts, court orders, and statutes, meaning as soon as can be reasonably done. It implies immediacy, with no excuses for delay.”
In a statement from Bentley’s office the governor outlines his reasons for the timeline.
“After consultation and lengthy discussions with the Alabama Secretary of State’s Office, a large number of factors were considered in setting the date for this Special Election. Those factors included compliance with federal and state statutes and cases, saving unnecessary expenses on a costly separate statewide special election, and setting a time that is expected to increase voter participation,” Governor Bentley said. “For these reasons, the 2018 General Election is the most reasonable time to hold the Special Election to fill the unexpired term of Senator Sessions,” Bentley said in a written statement.
This statement is riddled with problems.
First, If the governor called for the opening of qualifying today, the election could be held in November of 2017. This timeline would comply with federal and state statutes and cases.
Second, the law does not state that the election should be delayed because of fears of low turnout or because of the expense. Those are excuses for delay, they do not prevent the election from being held earlier.
Delaying the election for 21 months is not “forthwith”, this violates the law. It is that simple.
The governor should rescind his proclamation today, and call for the special election to be held in November of this year. The people who represent Alabama in the U.S. Senate should be there because it is the will of the people, not the will of the Montgomery “Good Ole Boy” network.
For once, Governor Bentley should do what is right for the people of AlabamaRead the petition
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