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Worley won’t certify Attalla senator

MONTGOMERY (AP) — Alabama Secretary of State Nancy Worley has declined to certify the election of Sen. Larry Means, D-Attalla, to the state Senate, a move that could affect whether the Senate is organized in Gov. Bob Riley’s favor.

Worley said Means did not file his campaign contribution report before the Nov. 7 general election and under the Fair Campaign Practices Act, a certificate of election shall not be issued to anyone who fails to file on time.

Worley on Friday did certify that the 34 other people who won the most votes in their Senate districts Nov. 7 were duly elected members of the 35-member Senate. She also certified the elections of all 105 members of the state House of Representatives.

But the state’s chief elections officer said she thinks that Means, without a certificate of election, will not be able to vote when lawmakers meet Jan. 9 to elect their leaders for the next four years.

McDowell Lee, secretary of the Senate, disagreed.

“Unless we get a court order that says he is not a member of the Senate and cannot vote, he is a member of the Senate and he will be allowed to vote,” Lee said.

Lee said official election results showed that Means won the vast majority of votes cast in Senate District 10, which covers Etowah County and part of Cherokee County.

Lee said a circuit judge already has sworn in Means as a senator.

Vote

Means’ voting status Jan. 9 could help decide whom senators elect as their leader.

The past two elections have been close.

Worley said she certified the elections of all top vote-getters except Means because all had filed their campaign reports before that election. Means filed a waiver, and then filed his report Nov. 17.

But Matt Lembke, an attorney for a District 10 voter who wants Means to serve, argued that only the Senate, not a judge or Worley, can decide whether Means is eligible to serve, no matter what part of the Fair Campaign Practices Act says.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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