Residents of Birmingham’s District 7 are heading to the polls today to choose their representative on the City Council.
The runoff election offers residents a choice of two candidates — incumbent Councilor Wardine Alexander and former Birmingham Fire Chief Ray Brooks — neither of whom were able to attain the 50% of the vote required to win outright in Oct. 9’s election.
Alexander, a former president of the Birmingham Board of Education and a former member of the Birmingham Public Library Board of Trustees, was appointed to the council last October after her predecessor in the seat, Jay Roberson, unexpectedly resigned, saying that his family would move out of the city to accommodate his wife’s new job at Alabaster City Schools. Alexander was appointed to the vacant seat in a 5-3 council vote, beating out fellow applicant Lonnie Malone.
Malone ran against Alexander in last month’s election but came in third place with 26.7% of the vote; Alexander received the most votes, with 42.4%, while Brooks came in second place with 30.9% of the vote.
Brooks served as Birmingham’s fire chief from 1997 until March 2002, when he left the city to become fire chief of Compton, California, from 2002 to 2004. After moving back to Birmingham in 2004, he attempted to enter politics, running in 2007’s mayoral race but receiving less than 1% of the vote. In 2009, he applied to fill the District 7 council seat after the sudden death of Councilor Miriam Witherspoon but was beaten out for the job by Roberson. He once again applied after Roberson’s resignation last year, but he was not selected as a finalist by the council.
Alexander was the only appointed council member from 2018 not to win last month’s election outright. District 1 Councilor Clinton Woods and District 6 Councilor Crystal Smitherman, both of whom were appointed last December, secured a majority of their district’s vote. Despite this, the council voted on Oct. 22 to appoint Alexander as the president pro tempore; if she loses today’s runoff, the council will have to elect someone else to fill that position.
Polls will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. If you are uncertain of your polling place, you can verify it at AlabamaVotes.gov.
Voters who have questions or problems at their polling places can call the Birmingham City Clerk’s office at 205-254-2290.