By Ryan Michaels
The Birmingham Times
A resident of Birmingham’s Southside community claims she won a neighborhood association election last October but said the city won’t allow her to take office.
Camilla Thompson said she was elected as the Glen Iris neighborhood association’s vice president last October but months later was told by the city her ID was invalid.
“I am incredibly frustrated with the fact that the city seems to be demonizing me and using me as a scapegoat for their mistake, and it feels very wrong, and it is weighing heavily on my emotional and mental health…” Thompson told The Birmingham Times.
No one from the city would comment for this story.
According to “unofficial” results released October, the same month as the election, on the city’s website, Thompson won the vice presidency election with 55 votes, six more than her nearest competitor Douglas Edmondson.
However, on Jan. 17, 2023 when Birmingham City Council approved the “official” election results, Edmondson had won the election with 48 votes. It does not show how many votes for Thompson.
After the votes were approved, Thompson said the city first invited Edmondson to the neighborhood officer swearing-in ceremony held on Jan. 31. However, according to Thompson, Edmondson was uninvited after staff at the city’s Community Resource Services Division (CRSD) realized Thompson was the correct winner.
However, Alice Speake, secretary of the Glen Iris neighborhood association, said on social media that at a Feb. 6 meeting of the group, Alice Williams, deputy director of the CRSD, told them that Thompson had actually lost the election due to an “ID issue.”
Efforts by The Birmingham Times to reach Williams were unsuccessful.
As recently as an April 17 meeting of the Citizens Advisory Board (CAB), which is itself made up of neighborhood officers, Williams said that on the day that Thompson voted, she provided an invalid form of identification, meaning Thompson could not actually prove that she lived in the neighborhood, according to a video reviewed by The Birmingham Times.
Thompson told the Birmingham Times she brought multiple documents to show as proofs of residence, including credit card bills, mail from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, a hunting license and her driver license. Thompson said CRSD staff selected mail from Blue Cross and her hunting license, both of which Williams later deemed invalid.
To qualify for a neighborhood officer election, residents are required to have lived in a particular neighborhood for 120 days on the date they file paperwork. Thompson filled out the required paperwork and appeared on the ballot for the neighborhood officer election. However, the qualification paperwork does not ask for proof of residence, just the applicant’s address, according to the city’s website. However, proof of residence is required to vote.
Williams said, at the April 17 CAB meeting, that the “invalid” identification means the city has reason to believe that Thompson may not have actually been a resident of the neighborhood for the 120 days required to qualify.
Thompson said she’s been a resident of her current address in Glen Iris for the past three years. “I am registered to vote here, I get my mail here, and I have been here since 2020,” Thompson said.
Meanwhile, it appears to be the city’s position that Edmondson is the rightful VP. However, sitting neighborhood officers have not recognized him as such.
Edmondson declined to comment for this story, but in February Edmondson told CBS42 that even he thought he’d lost the election.
Edmondson told the television station he was shocked when he received an invitation to attend the swearing-in of neighborhood officers at Boutwell Auditorium.
Edmondson immediately told a city official there was an issue.
“I told her ‘I think you made a mistake,’” Edmondson said. “‘I lost the election by a few votes.’”
Still, Edmonson is listed as the winner of the race in Birmingham’s official election results, certified by the city council and published on the city’s website.