Local election qualifying to begin soon

Published 5:11 pm Thursday, January 9, 2014

With statewide election qualifying moved up to Feb. 7, both the Democrat and Republican parties will begin their qualifying earlier this year.

The Marengo County Democratic Party will hold a qualifying kickoff on Tuesday, Jan. 21 at 5:30 p.m. at the Marengo County Courthouse. Several candidates are expected to announce their candidacy during this event.

The Alabama Republican Party recently announced that qualifying for statewide races would begin Monday, Jan. 13 at 9 a.m. at the party’s headquarters in Birmingham. The party will also have staff in Montgomery on Wednesday, Jan. 15, but a time and location has yet to be announced for that day. All local qualifying is handled by the local county party.

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Locally, there will be several offices on the ballot this year. The office of sheriff will be up for election this year, along with the coroner and the revenue commissioner. The Marengo County Board of Education District 4 seat, currently held by Arthur Hopson, will be on the ballot, as well as Marengo County Commission Districts 1, 3 and 5, currently held by Freddie Armstead, John Crawford Jr. and Michael Thompson, respectively.

Secretary of State Jim Bennett moved the end of qualifying from April 4 to Feb. 7 to help comply with federal laws concerning military and overseas voters.

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

This change will not affect the June 3, 2014 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,” said Bennett. “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.”