David Cole is taking his election challenge back to the Alabama Supreme Court.
For the third time in the challenge, Cole has filed a request with the state’s highest court – this time he’s asking that his deposition in the case, scheduled for Wednesday, be stayed until his previous request before the court is ruled on.
Cole’s pending request before the court asks that the challenger in the case, Libertarian candidate Elijah Boyd, be limited to 40 questions during the deposition. Boyd’s attorney, Barry Ragsdale, submitted 479 questions to the court, which has appointed an independent commissioner to read the questions presented by both sides.
A Madison County Circuit Court judge ruled last month that the questions were not unduly burdensome, because the attorneys were forced to guess what responses Cole might give and pose multiple different follow-up questions.
The election challenge filed against Cole deals with his residency – specifically, it claims that Cole does not reside in District 10, the district he was elected to represent, and that he falsified his candidate filing papers by using the address of a family friend who does reside in the district. Cole’s home, which he apparently still owns, sits in District 4.
Until last week, it appeared that Cole’s Republican colleagues were going to bail him out. Included in a bill to give the legislature authority to build a new Statehouse was a change to the Alabama code that would have altered the election challenge process. The new process would require that a challenge be filed before a candidate is certified by the Alabama Secretary of State, and it would have given Cole a reprieve.
However, after the bill got media attention the previous week, the final version of the legislation that passed did not include that provision.
The Legislature will be responsible for determining Cole’s fate, though. Under state law, the House hears and decides all election challenges. Following Cole’s deposition – whenever it might occur – the Madison County Circuit Court will forward all evidence and records it has collected to the clerk of the House. A hearing will be held shortly thereafter.