UPDATE 12:47 p.m.: see the attached .PDF to read the election board's ruling on Poole.
County Commissioner-elect Brian Poole is qualified to take office.
That was the ruling the Cherokee County Board of Elections unanimously made late Monday morning, less than 24 hours before Election Day.
The board's ruling ends weeks of speculation as to whether the county would be forced to schedule a special election to fill the District 3 seat.
Poole, who lives in Towne Lake, was flanked by his attorney Charles Robertson and local supporters and left immediately after the ruling was made.
However, Robertson said he was glad to see the board rule in his client's favor.
"We are obviously pleased with it," he said. "We are not surprised. We thought the law was pretty clear."
Poole was accused by eight residents – Chris Hampton, Scott Ault, Teisha Ault, Jamey Cagle, Connie Miller, Bryan Roach, Eric Love and Linda Flory – for not paying state and local sales taxes in the state of Alabama. Poole allegedly owes $38,599.09 in sales taxes in the neighboring state.
Hampton was Poole's Republican challenger in the July 31 primary.
Canton attorney Jeff Rusbridge, who represented the residents in their challenge, also said he was not surprised by the board's decision
"Obviously, I will review the board's decision with my clients and we will have to determine whether they desire to move forward with any further action," he added.
Rusbridge late last month sent a letter to Cherokee County Elections Supervisor Janet Munda, asking the board to review the mater.
Along with the letter, Rusbridge also sent several documents that appear to be certificates of liens against Poole from the Alabama Department of Revenue, which were filed between 2009 and 2011, and copies of a voluntary bankruptcy filing Poole made in 2010.
Mr. Poole himself, in sworn statements submitted with his Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition in the Middle District of Alabama, Case No. 10-11227, admitted owing $29,855 in unpaid state and local sales and withholding taxes to the State of Alabama,” the letter reads.
The board in a called meeting two weeks ago voted unanimously to move forward to schedule a formal hearing, but tabled making a decision after the formal hearing.
Poole is set to take office on Jan. 1. Poole has no Democratic opposition in the Nov. 6 general election. Both Poole and Hampton sought the seat after incumbent County Commissioner Karen Bosch opted not to seek re-election.