Justice Department approves Calera election date

City officials today received the final confirmation needed to hold a citywide election Nov. 10.

The U.S. Department of Justice today notified city officials it had approved the city’s request to hold the municipal election. The announcement came two days after nine candidates qualified to run for six at-large spots on the Calera City Council.

The city earlier this month was forced to set the November election date after the Justice Department threw out Calera’s Aug. 2008 election results over concerns a city redistricting plan eliminated Calera’s only black voting district.

When voters return to the polls in November, they will cast votes for six at-large council positions rather than the council’s current five ward representatives.

Jon Graham, who was elected mayor in the 2008 election, was the only mayoral candidate who qualified for the new election. The qualifying deadline was Sept. 23.

“The whole election last year was basically null and void,” Graham said after the Justice Department announcement. “I’m very excited about it. We can finally see a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Nine candidates have qualified to run for council seats in the Nov. 10 election, including all five incumbent council members and newcomers Chris Bunn, Ed Gentry, Eric Snyder and Alan Watts.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. at the Calera Community Center on Highway 31. If necessary, a runoff election will be held Dec. 22.