By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Friday, the Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, Bill Armistead, announced that the Party’s Steering Committee has set qualifying dates for all statewide candidates in the 2014 election cycle. Qualifying will begin Monday, January 13 at 9:00 AM at Alabama Republican Party Headquarters which is located at 3505 Lorna Road in Hoover.
Chairman Armistead also announced that the ALGOP staff will be in Montgomery on Wednesday, January 15 to provide an opportunity for candidates in the Montgomery area to qualify locally. More information on the location and time that the ALGOP staff will be in Montgomery will be announced next week.
Candidates who are running for local office must qualify with their respective Republican Party County Chairman. Qualifying dates for local offices are determined by the local county party.
These moves come after Secretary of State James Bennett (R) announced that he had moved the qualifying deadline up to February 7th from April 4th.
If you were thinking about running for office this year you have less than 32 days to make up your mind and get all of your qualifying papers turned in to the Alabama Secretary of State’s office.
This change will not affect the June 3, 2014 qualifying deadlines for independent candidates and candidates of minor parties. This will apply to anybody running for office as a Republican or a Democrat.
The move settles a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Justice Department on behalf of U.S. servicemen stationed all over the world. With an April fourth qualification date, it would have been difficult to qualify the candidates, prepare ballots for every polling place in Alabama, then get those absentee ballots to our troops in remote corners of the world, them fill out their ballots, and then mail them back to our soldiers in time for those ballots to be counted on election night.
Secretary Bennett said, “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. 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.”
“We are doing everything in our power to make sure that our soldiers have their ballots in hand and can mail them back in time for their vote to be counted.”
The Secretary of State’s office has been in constant contact with both chairs of the Alabama Democratic and Republican parties to let them know that this change would occur. Secretary Bennett said he has urged the parties to open qualifying for candidates early in order to account for this change.
In response to the change in the qualifying close date, the Alabama Republican Party Steering Committee voted to move up its open qualifying date.
If you have any questions about qualifying with the Alabama Republican Party contact Britney Garner at 205 212 5900 or via email at…
Alabama Democratic Party Chairman Nancy Worley told the Associated Press that Alabama Democratic Party qualifying would begin on February 1st and end on February 7th.
The Secretary of State’s office had asked last year for the legislature to change the elections deadline schedule to reflect this end date for qualifying. That bill passed unanimously in the House, but timed out in the state Senate due to time constraints and last day filibustering by the Democrats, who were trying to block more controversial bills.
Secretary Bennett said, “We are bringing the bill again this year. I know that the legislative leadership has every confidence that this will be passed for future elections and that we will all do our part to ensure that every vote counts, including military and overseas voters.”