We recently brought you
a look inside The Machine— the University of Alabama’s elite secret society that allegedly controls everything from the student government to
the racial segregation of Greek life.
One storyline about The Machine that is still evolving is its alleged involvement in Tuscaloosa, Ala.’s school board elections in August. The student group is accused of coercing Greeks to vote for two alumni candidates by promising free alcohol and other perks in exchange for their support.
While both Machine-backed candidates won their races, the incumbent candidate who was defeated in District 4, which includes some of UA’s campus, has filed a lawsuit stating that many of the voters in that district should not have been eligible. In a legal memorandum filed today, Kelly Horwitz states that her opponent — former UA student government president Cason Kirby — won based on voters who were illegally offered perks and incorrectly listed Greek houses as their residences to be eligible to vote.
It is unclear to what extent Kirby was aware of these activities — or even if they occurred at all — but Horwitz includes several Greek organisations’ emails in today’s filing, which purport to establish that The Machine was attempting to manipulate the election to their preferred candidates.
Here’s the key paragraph from one email allegedly sent to the sorority Delta Gamma, emphasis ours: “This is very important to our chapter and the Greek system as a whole. I have a list of who registered to vote, so if you registered, GO VOTE. Remember, we worked very hard to get to this point and this is our opportunity to show that we are here to stay!“
According to a footnote in the brief, the last line refers to the fact that Delta Gamma was recently admitted into The Machine after being on probationary status for a year and “felt that turning out voters for the school board race would help to secure its status within the organisation.”
Additionally, a Delta Gamma sister allegedly said that members were held in the house’s basement, and forced to register to vote in District 4 — even if they didn’t want to change their voter registration to Tuscaloosa or didn’t currently live in the sorority house.
Similar messages promising free drinks and other perks for voting, “presents strong evidence of a system wide scheme by the Machine to elect Cason Kirby by offering illegal incentives to their members to turn them out to vote for him,” according to the legal brief.
Horwitz’ memorandum alleges several other activities which appear to confirm The Machine’s involvement in putting pressure on students to register and vote.
One member of a Machine-affiliated sorority “began the process of filling out a request for a provisional ballot but aborted the process and left the building when she learned she had to sign an oath subjecting her to potential perjury charges,” according to the filing. An election official stated that the woman was then escorted back into the voting area by a group of women, who forced her to fill out a ballot.
The election official said that the woman’s hands were shaking as she signed the oath stating that she was qualified to vote, according to the memo.
The filing also alleges that one sorority’s Machine representative told the sisterhood that they would receive Backstreet Boys concert tickets for voting. Many members who are listed in the voting records allegedly later posted on social media sites about attending the concert.
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