Despite discussing the possibility of lobbying the Alabama Legislature to move the state’s 2020 municipal elections to next year, the executive committee of the Alabama League of Municipalities took no action at a meeting this morning.
Instead, ALM Deputy Director Greg Cochran told reporters in a conference call the committee would reconvene in June to consider the move that would impact between 200 and 300 elections, if the state remains in a shelter-in-place order due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“They’ll seek the change only if we’re still in this condition,” Cochran said. “If the conditions do not approve by June, we can seek to move the elections by petitioning Gov. Kay Ivey.”
The decision would be made by June 12, which would most likely happen after the Legislature has adjourned its 2020 session. Ivey would only have the authority to move the elections if the state was still under a state of emergency, Cochran said. Under this scenario, individual cities could also petition Ivey for the same reason, he said.
The possibility of moving municipal elections came up after Ivey moved the state’s congressional runoff elections to July 14. Most of the state’s municipal elections are scheduled for Aug. 25.
“This came about after [Ivey] moved the runoff elections,” Cochran said. “We started to think about how we plan ahead in case we’re in this predicament into June. Most of the committee felt it was too early to change the dates at this time.”
If the committee does decide to petition Ivey for a change this summer, Cochran said, ALM would present her with options for dates and allow her to choose one.
This would not impact Mobile’s municipal elections, which are slated for 2021 anyway, but Prichard’s City Council and mayoral elections would be impacted, as would elections in Fairhope, Daphne and other Baldwin County cities.
Prichard District 1 City Councilman Lorenzo Martin is against the move, saying it would have a negative impact on residents’ right to vote. He has helped organize a group called Alabama Citizens’ Right to Vote and has begun reaching out to municipal leaders throughout Mobile County, Martin said.
“Most of the leaders we’ve talked to are against moving the elections,” he said. “It’s not fair to the citizens and their right to vote.”
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