Primary qualifying deadline changed

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Pike County residents hoping to qualify to run as either a Democrat or Republican in the upcoming 2014 elections will have to fill out their paperwork a little earlier than previously thought.

Earlier this week, Alabama Secretary of State Jim Bennett announced that the deadline for qualifying as a major party candidate in the 2014 election cycle will be Feb. 7, 2014 at 5 p.m. The deadline had previously been April 4.

Bennett said the change had to be made to comply with federal law concerning the period of time before the election that ballots must be sent out to military and overseas voters. “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.”

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Pike County Probate Judge Wes Allen said the change in the qualifying process would not affect the way his office administers the election. “The candidate qualifying deadline of Feb 7, 2014, will not impact the administration of the primary election in Pike County,” Allen said. “After the qualifying deadline, we will order the ballots, get the voting machines ready to go and have the poll workers trained and ready for the June 3rd primary election. We have a great group of poll workers, they always do an outstanding job on election day.”

People looking to run as either a Republican or Democrat in the June 3 primary election can begin the qualification process by contacting either Tom Haigh, chairperson of the Pike County Republican Party, or Jerry Williams, the head of the Pike County Democratic Party.

Haigh said he did not anticipate the new deadline would affect anyone considering running as a Republican in Pike County. “Hopefully, it won’t have any adverse effect,” Haigh said. “The federal government decided that people in the military needed more time to get their ballots sent in. The new deadline is there to make sure citizens overseas can have their votes counted. We didn’t have any problems with people qualifying last election, and I don’t think there will be any confusion this time. The process should be familiar to those who are seeking reelection and simple for people who are running for the first time.”

Williams agreed with Haigh. “It’s a shorter qualifying period than we normally have,” Williams said. “ But, most folks who decide to run have already thought this through and are ready to qualify during the scheduled period. I don’t think the new deadline has any negative impact. I think the whole change was made for the advantage of the voters. I think the process will functions just as it always has.”

People wanting to run as Republicans in the upcoming primary election can stop by Tom Haigh’s office on W Church St. to pick up the necessary forms. Haigh’s office is open on Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The office is open on Friday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Those wishing to run as Democrats can contact Jerry Williams at 670-2522. Pike County Democrats also post qualifying times at the Pike County Courthouse.

In the upcoming election, citizens of Pike County will vote locally for the positions of Pike County Sheriff, Pike County Coroner, Alabama State House Representative District 89, Alabama State Senate District 31, Pike County Revenue Commissioner and Pike County School Board Members 1 and 2.

Statewide and federal races include: Alabama Governor, Alabama Lieutenant Governor, United States Senator and United States Representative.

In order to vote in the primary elections, citizens of Pike County must be registered to vote prior to May 24.

In order to vote in a possible primary run-off election, citizens must be registered to vote prior to July 5.