Numerous candidates on both sides of the political aisle have been disqualified over the past few weeks for a failure to submit a financial form in time.
The Alabama Republican Party began raising a stink after a few Republican candidates were disqualified for failing to file their Statement of Economic Interest (SEI) form within five days of the qualifying.
That included incumbent Jackson County Board of Education member Mike Matthews, who insinuated that only Republicans were being disqualified over the filing error.
“I believe both parties should have to follow the same rules,” Matthews said in a release. “There are questions that must be answered before (the) deadline to certify candidates. The Ethics Commission needs to give equal treatment under the law, and the Secretary of State, as the chief election officer, needs to take responsibility and make sure this is addressed.”
ALGOP chairman John Wahl even sent a letter to the Ethics Committee asking for fair treatment under the law, although he made it clear the party was “not aware of the full extent of the problem.”
It’s still not clear there ever was a problem—as AL.com reports that 13 Democratic candidates have been disqualified in Jefferson County alone for the same reason, creating a crisis for the party.
“My focus over the next few days will be to assist them in any way possible in their quest to get back on the ballot,” Wayne Rogers, chair of the Jefferson County Democratic Party told AL.com. “We will do everything in our power to make sure that happens.”
The situation leaves Jefferson County with no candidates for treasurer at this time.
A statement of economic interest form details a candidate’s source of income as well as some other pertinent financial information about a candidate to publicly show potential financial interests.
According to the Daily Mountain Eagle, at least nine candidates have been disqualified from the ballots in Walker County due to the technicality; the Alexander City Outlook reports two candidates, one Republican and one Democrat, will be removed from the ballot for failure to submit the form on time.
And in Montgomery, Irva Reed—sister of Mayor Steven Reed—will be ineligible to appear on the ballot for Montgomery County Commission for the same error according to the Montgomery Independent.
APR could not reach Ethics Commission chairman Tom Albritton before publishing time.