Mainly, someone needs to do the job
The latest flare-up came Tuesday, when U.S. Rep. Artur Davis, D-Birmingham, warned of "partisan colorations" in a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Earlier, the Alabama Democratic Party tried unsuccessfully to intervene in the Justice Department's lawsuit against the state for failure to set up a statewide voter registration database on time. The New York Times last week also devoted an editorial to excoriating the Bush administration for what the writers saw as a heavy-handed political move in an election year.
The partisanship concerns are understandable, given that Riley's appointment as special master came upon the recommendation of Republican AG Troy King's office. (What seemed to get lost in the red-blue hubbub, though, was the fact that the appointment went to the office of governor, meaning Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley would assume the role if she wins the race.) A nonpartisan appointee would have been the best way to negate the partisan bickering.
But the most important thing to keep in mind here is that Alabama still doesn't have the voter registration database it was required to have eight months ago. Worley didn't get the job done, and it's past time for someone to do it. If gubernatorial intervention with federal court oversight is what it takes, so be it.