Election qualifying could begin Tuesday

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 3, 2014

People thinking about running in Alabama’s 2014 elections will now have to make a decision two months earlier than previously thought.

Alabama’s chief election official Secretary of State Jim Bennett announced Thursday that qualifying for major party candidates will end Feb. 7 rather than April 4.

Bennett said he reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to move up the deadline to make sure there is plenty of time for county absentee ballot managers to get ballots to Alabama military and other Alabamians living overseas.

The agreement resulted from a suit the Justice Department filed against Alabama to make sure military members can get absentee ballots and return them in time to be counted.

Bill Blocker, Covington County’s Republican Party chair, said what that means for local candidates is that qualifying for office may begin as early as Tuesday.

“When they pushed the ending qualifying date, that meant we needed to adjust the start date,” Blocker said. “Our best guess, right now, is that (qualifying) will start Jan. 7.”