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Alabama
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• Can a court determine which members in a Baptist church are qualified to vote in a church election? No, concluded the Alabama Supreme Court. A dispute arose in a local Baptist church, and certain members petitioned a state trial court to order a church election to resolve the matter. At the election the votes of 35 individuals were challenged and not counted. The result of the ballots counted was a 74 to 74 tie. One group of members petitioned the court to have the challenged votes counted. The trial court refused to grant this request, noting that "if this court ordered the challenged ballots to be counted, it would be determining that they were members who were eligible to vote. This it cannot do …." The court acknowledged that its refusal to order the challenged ballots to be counted "leaves the [church] without redress in the courts for even arbitrary acts of a preacher ...

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Posted:
  • January 2, 1989

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