A court Friday rejected a legal challenge to Jefferson County's primary elections. Republican district attorney candidate Bill Veitch filed a lawsuit calling for opening the primary in his race to voters in the Bessemer Cutoff. A Democratic candidate for circuit clerk, Elizabeth Watkins, filed a similar suit. Under state law, only voters in the Birmingham division of the county may vote in primaries for those offices. Veitch argued that exceptions have been made before, citing the Democratic primary for district attorney in 2016, in which Cutoff voters were allowed to cast ballots. Attorneys for the county said it would be impractical to change the rules now, noting that absentee ballots, and ballots for troops stationed overseas, already have been distributed. In his decision, Jefferson County Circuit Judge Jim Hughey held that it would be too close to the June 5 primary to change the ballots, which must be printed by Saturday. The ruling, which neither candidate planned to appeal, means that only voters in the Birmingham division of the county may vote in the primaries for DA and circuit clerk. Watkins expressed disappointment upon learning of the decision: "Many of us will be excluded from the selection process."
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