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Newbern 2020 Election Timeline

2019: Patrick Braxton, considering a run for office in Newbern, Alabama, rents a house within the town boundaries to establish residency.

June 2020: Braxton approaches Newbern Mayor Haywood Stokes III to ask for information to qualify for the Aug. 25, 2020, election. After getting the forms, Braxton seeks help from other mayors for aid in filing correctly.

July 20, 2020: Braxton files qualifying forms to run for mayor.

July 22, 2020: Qualification period closes. Braxton is declared mayor-elect because no other candidates qualified to run.

Aug. 10, 2020: Outgoing Newbern council passes two ordinances: one accepting Braxton as the mayor-elect, the other moving the scheduled Aug. 25 council election to Oct. 6.

Aug. 17, 2020: Newbern town attorney William Holmes sends a letter to the Alabama secretary of state claiming that due to “an innocent mistake” the town would move its Aug. 25 election to Oct. 6.

Aug. 17, 2020, 4:31 p.m.: Alabama Secretary of State Chief of Staff David Brewer emails Alabama League of Municipalities asking if it is legal to move the Newbern election.

Aug. 17, 2020, 4:34 p.m.: League General Counsel Lorelei Lein emails reply to Brewer, with legal citations supporting a shift in the election date.

Aug. 18, 2020: Qualification for Newbern council seats reopens.

Sept. 1, 2020: Qualification for the rescheduled elections closes. Only the four outgoing council members, along with outgoing Mayor Haywood Stokes III, file to run for the five town council seats, making them the council-elect.

Nov. 2, 2020: Braxton is sworn in as mayor of Newbern along with four volunteers to serve as councilmembers.

Nov. 12, 2020: Four previous councilmembers, along with former Mayor Haywood Stokes III, are sworn in as Newbern councilmembers at town attorney’s office in Greensboro by virtue of having qualified for the rescheduled municipal election.

Nov. 12, 2020: The Stokes council sends a registered letter to Braxton asking him to attend a special meeting to organize a town government. Braxton instead continues to hold meetings with the councilmembers he was sworn in with on Nov. 2.

Feb. 8, 2021: The Stokes council meets and passes a motion to remove Braxton from office, referring the matter to town attorney Holmes and the League of Municipalities.

Feb. 10, 2021: Holmes writes email to Lein informing her of the decision and thanking her for the League’s assistance.

Read the full story of the legal efforts to reinstate Patrick Braxton. Part 1 | Part 2: Coming soon

Sources: Lawsuit filed by Patrick Braxton and public records obtained by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Image at top: Patrick Braxton stands in front of the Newbern Town Hall in Alabama. He became the town's mayor-elect in June 2020 but was replaced by his white predecessor without an election. (Credit: Dwayne Fatherree)