UPDATE: Qualifying opens today

Published 10:18 am Monday, January 13, 2014

Residents looking to put their name in the hat for the 2014 elections will have to do so a little earlier this year.

Alabama Secretary of State Jim Bennett announced recently that the close of qualifying for major party candidates will be Feb. 7, at 5 p.m.

The move is nearly two months earlier than previously scheduled – April 4.

Email newsletter signup

Crenshaw County Probate Judge Jim Perdue said the move was to allow the state of Alabama to comply with federal laws concerning military and overseas voters.

“Basically, the absentee military ballots were not getting distributed timely in Alabama,” he said. “This is to fix it where you can certify, print and ship them as soon as 45 days prior to the election.”

This change is part of ongoing litigation with the Department of Justice over military and overseas voting deadlines.

According to Bennett’s office, the change will not affect the June 3 qualifying deadlines for independent candidates and candidates of parties that did not receive more than 20 percent of the entire vote cast in the last general election.

“Though we do not have yet an order from the court, we have agreed with the Department of Justice to move our deadlines up considerably to get ballots to the absentee election managers in each county,” Bennett said. “This will allow ballots enough time to be sent to military and overseas voters well before the federal deadline, which is 45 days before the date of the election.”

Bennett said he has urged the parties to open qualifying for candidates early in order to account for this change.

“We are doing everything in our power to make sure that soldiers have their ballots in hand and can mail them back in time for their vote to be counted,” he said.

Perdue said Monday local parties had not notified him officially when they intend to open qualifying, but those wanting to run will have less than a month to qualify.

In other counties, qualifying is scheduled to begin as early as Tuesday.

Suze Butts, chairperson of the Crenshaw County Republican Party, said qualifying will begin on Jan. 13.

John Nichols, chairperson of the Crenshaw County Democratic Executive Committee, said qualifying begins Jan. 13 for his party.

Nichols said that declarations of candidacy may be obtained at his office at Lightfoot & Nichols located at 84 E. Fourth Street, Luverne, and the following fees have been set:

• Sheriff — $1,340;

• Revenue Commissioner — $1,365;

• Coroner — $100;

• County Commission, Districts 1-5 — $450;

• Democratic Executive Committee -$10.

Local races for 2014 will include all seats on the county commission, revenue commissioner, sheriff and coroner, Perdue said.