Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party Bill Armistead announced recently 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 a.m. at ALGOP Headquarters, located at 3505 Lorna Road in Birmingham.

Armistead also announced that ALGOP staff would be in Montgomery on Wednesday, Jan. 15 to provide an opportunity for candidates in the Montgomery area to qualify locally. More information on the location and time the staff will be in Montgomery will be announced next week.

Candidates 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.

Cherokee County offices up for re-election in 2014, according to the Cherokee County Probate Judge’s office, include the Cherokee County Commission District Two and Four, one Cherokee County Board of Education spot, Cherokee County District Judge, Cherokee County Revenue Commissioner, Cherokee County Sheriff and Cherokee County Coroner.

Secretary of State Jim Bennett announced yesterday that qualifying for all major party candidates for 2014 would close on Friday, Feb. 7 at 5 p.m. This is a change from the originally planned closing date. The change is due to ongoing litigation between the State of Alabama and the Department of Justice over military and overseas voting deadlines. In response to the change in the qualifying close date, the Alabama Republican Party Steering Committee moved up its open date.

Please direct questions regarding qualifying with the Alabama Republican Party to Britney Garner at 205-212-5900 or at

The U.S. Department of Justice, according to reports, sued Alabama to make sure the military and other Alabamians living overseas would have plenty of time to get their absentee ballots and return them in time to be counted.

The suit led to an agreement to move up the qualifying deadline for Democratic and Republican candidates, 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,” Bennett said.

The chairman of Alabama’s Democratic Party, Nancy Worley, said her party had already decided to open qualifying on Feb. 1, which leaves only six days for candidates to sign up. She said that’s shorter than she would like, but she said, “Most people have made up their minds by Feb. 1 if they are going to run.”

She said Bennett’s staff notified party leaders more than a month ago that the qualifying deadline would likely move up because of the federal court suit.

Party leaders and Bennett said they will make the earlier deadline work because everyone wants to make sure that military overseas has the opportunity to vote.

“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,” Bennett said.

While the qualifying deadline for Democrats and Republicans will move up, the election dates will remain June 3 for the primary, July 15 for the primary runoff and Nov. 4 for the general election.

Bennett said the deadline for independent candidates and third parties to qualify for the general election ballot will remain June 3.

The secretary of state noted that he tried to pass a bill in the 2013 legislative session to move up the qualifying deadline for major party candidates. The bill cleared the House but died in the Senate. He said he will try again during the legislative session starting Jan. 14.