Qualifying deadline/fees set for Lowndes County Election 2014

Published 4:31 pm Monday, January 13, 2014

By Fred Guarino

Alabama Secretary of State Jim Bennett announced Jan. 2nd that the close of qualifying for major party candidates in the 2014 election cycle will be Feb. 7th at 5 p.m., and fees have been set by both the Democratic and Republican parties in Lowndes County.

Local offices up for election in Lowndes County include County Commission, Districts 1 and 4, County Board of Education, Districts 1, 2, and 5, County Tax Assessor, County Tax Collector, County Sheriff and County Coroner.

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According to Bennett’s office, this is much earlier than usual as the Secretary of State’s office is working to 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.

The original date for the end of qualifying for major party candidates would have been April 4, 2014. However, the 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,” 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.”

The Secretary of State’s office tried to pass a bill last year in the legislature that would alter the elections deadline schedule to reflect this end date for qualifying. That bill passed unanimously in the House, but failed to pass the Senate due to time constraints.

“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,” Bennett said.

Lowndes County Democratic Executive Committee chairman Eli Seaborn announced Monday that the committee recently met and established local qualifying dates and fees for the June 3rd Democratic primary election.

The qualifying period opened at 9 a.m., Monday, Jan. 13th, and will close at 5 p.m., Feb. 7th.

According to Seaborn, the qualifying fee represents 2 percent of the annual salary for the office.

He said the Democratic Party fee for Lowndes County Commission, Districts 1 and 4 is $435.64; for Lowndes County Board of Education, Districts 1, 2, and 5, the fee is $144; for Lowndes County Tax Assessor, the fee is $1,102.73, for Lowndes County Tax Collector, the fee is $1,102.73; the fee for Lowndes County Sheriff is $1,438.51; and the fee for Lowndes County Coroner is $72.

In addition, Seaborn said, all positions on the Lowndes County Democratic Executive Committee will also be up for election. Persons interested in running for the Committee must complete a qualifying form, but there is no qualifying fee.

Seaborn said qualifying documents and fees must be submitted to his home, 318 County Road 40 W in White Hall. His office hours will be Monday-Friday from 1- 5 p.m.

In order to qualify for any state elected office (congressional, constitutional, judicial, or legislative) a candidate must qualify with the Alabama Democratic Party at the headquarters, 501 Adams Avenue in Montgomery.

Seaborn said the moving up of the deadline to quality puts the Lowndes County Democratic Party in a bind to make the Feb. 7 deadline. However, he said, “We’re going to do whatever is necessary to comply to the orders that we’ve been given.”

Lowndes County Republican Party Chairman Becky Bates Sloane said the fee to qualify for Lowndes County offices is $100 per office.

The address to send fees for Lowndes County offices is Attention Becky Sloane, P.O. Box 383 Fort Deposit, AL 36032 for local offices.

She said for state elected offices, fees must be sent to the Alabama Republican Party. Contact Algop.org.