Candidate seeking to overturn election results in Ashford council race

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Ashford- A candidate apparently defeated for a seat on the Ashford City Council in the August 23 election has filed a legal challenge seeking to overturn the results.

Richard Bolden, Sr. alleges that John Whitehurst does not meet residency requirements and is asking a Houston County Circuit Judge to disqualify Whitehurst.

“We found out (Whitehurst) lives on Cedar Springs Road (out of the city limits). Rules are rules and the rules are you can’t be an elected official in Ashford unless you live in the city limits of Ashford,” said Steve McGowan, Bolden’s attorney.

The home where Whitehurst once resided inside the city limits, at 108 Grimsley Drive, was destroyed by fire more than four years ago, according to those familiar with the fire. Property records indicate Whitehurst likely rented the home.

Whitehurst’s statement of candidacy, filed with the city clerk’s office, shows his address as 2077 Cedar Springs Road. Voter registration forms show both addresses.

“Generally, when you register to vote using an address out of the city limits you are considered to have abandoned residency,” said Ed Packard, elections administrator with the Alabama Secretary of State’s Office. It appears Grimsley registered using the Cedar Springs Road address.

Whitehurst called Bolden a “defeated candidate in a desperate position at this time. He termed the lawsuit “heartless and having no foundation.”

Repeatedly questioned as to whether he registered to vote using the Cedar Springs Road address, Whitehurst refused to answer.
Official results show that Whitehurst received 223 votes to Bolden’s 212 in the election for the Place 5 seat.

McGowan said Bolden was aware of the residency issue before the election but had no legal avenue to pursue until after the election was held.