Time to change elections

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 17, 2012

I would like to congratulate the successful candidates in the recent election for the Covington County Commission, but I am more concerned about some of the unsuccessful candidates.

In the race for Commission District No. 4, in incumbent won the race with 50.37 percent of the countywide vote, but he only received 34.10 percent of the vote from the residents of the district which he has been representing for the past eight years.

This problem was created by the Alabama Democratic Party more than 50 years ago when they passed legislation which required all candidates for county commission districts to be elected by a countywide vote, and in large counties, similar legislation required that state legislators be elected by a countywide vote. This requirement made it more difficult for any black or Republican candidate to be elected to one of these offices.

In 1969, six members of the Madison County, Ala., Republican Party, including myself, filed a suit in federal court to force a change in the requirement for district candidates running county wide. We lost this case, but appealed it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. They refused to hear the case. However, around the same time we joined a similar case filed by the Alabama NAACP, which received a favorable ruling by the Supreme Court.

Soon after the above cases were ruled on by the Supreme Court, Madison County was forced to divide their legislative and county commission districts into equal population districts and the candidates from these districts were voted on by the residents of those districts. Therefore, the method of electing county commissioners in Covington County is clearly illegal, but unless you have dep pockets, do not try to carry it to the U.S. Supreme Court.

However, the Republican Party now controls the state legislature and the governor’s office. Therefore, if our state senator and state representative have any respect for the constitution which they swore to uphold, they can easily correct the above problem, along with many other similar problems that plague our local governing bodies.

Wyley D. Ward