TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) – There are some serious and surprising allegations in Tuscaloosa following Tuesday’s municipal election. Perhaps the most unusual of the claims is that some university student votes had essentially been bought in exchange for alcohol.
Political newcomer and recent University of Alabama graduate, Cason Kirby, was named the victor Tuesday evening in the race for the City Board of Education’s District Four seat. He bested incumbent, Kelly Horwitz, by a slight margin of 72 votes. However, Horwitz supporters say they had been watching some irregularities in the recent voter registration. One supporter says they saw an unusual number of University of Alabama students registered to vote in the municipal election in the past 60 days. In one instance, eleven students listed a single family home in District Four as their home address.
On Tuesday, when supporters were gathered at the district’s polling site, Horwitz supporters say they watched as a steady stream of students arrived to the polls in stretch limos. Christopher Lynn was holding signs and passing out information about Horwitz’s campaign when he says a University of Alabama student approached him. Lynn says the student, who asked that her name or greek affiliation not been disclosed, was enraged after receiving an e-mail from a fellow sorority member. The e-mail told sorority members to vote for Cason Kirby and also for Lee Garrison, who was named the Board of Education’s new chairman on Tuesday. The e-mail explained that both men are qualified and also alumni who were active in the university’s Student Government Association and Greek Life. The e-mail also mentions a reward for wearing an “I voted” sticker: a wrist band that would supply them with free drinks at two bars near campus on election night. Lynn says the student was further frustrated due to the fact that she is under the legal drinking age, and that she felt that she was being bribed to vote with alcohol.
Horwitz says she is still gathering all of the information about who voted and where they were registered to vote. She says that she does not want to point fingers or jump to any conclusions at this time. She has not decided whether or not she will contest the results of the election, although she is considering her options.
CBS 42 reached out to Cason Kirby and Lee Garrison for comment. Lee Garrison has not yet responded. Kirby issued this statement this afternoon.
“I want to thank all of my supporters and volunteers who worked so hard during this campaign. I would not be able to represent District 4 without their help. I want to thank everyone who voted and supported my vision for our schools. I can’t wait to hit the ground running and represent my district on the Tuscaloosa City Board of Education to give our kids the best education possible.”