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Merrill: Qualifying ends Friday for everyone but congressional candidates

This week’s court ruling that blocks the use of new congressional district maps does not impact the Friday qualifying deadline for state and county office candidates, Secretary of State John Merrill said Wednesday.

Earlier in the week there was confusion over whether the federal court order on the map and its delay of qualifying until Feb. 11 applied to other races.

“(Wednesday), the court clarified its previous order and made it clear that the ruling applied only to congressional candidates,” Merrill said in a written statement. 

Judge Anna Manasco wrote that the court was only ruling on congressional races and therefore the stay only applied to the qualifying deadline for those races.

“The only elections before this court are the congressional elections. Accordingly, the court could not have and did not stay the qualifying deadline applicable to any other elections. The preliminary injunction specifically defines ‘the Plan”’as ‘Alabama’s 2021 redistricting plan for its seven seats in the United States House of Representatives.’ Singleton Doc. 88 at 2; Milligan Doc. 107 at 2. It did not describe, consider, or make any findings of fact about the state legislative map, challenges to which are pending in another case before another three-judge court: Thomas v. Merrill, Case No. 2:21-cv-1531-AMM.

“Accordingly, there should be no confusion, but if there is, we expressly clarify that the fourteen-day stay of the January 28, 2022 qualification deadline through February 11, 2022 applies to congressional elections only.”

The federal judges’ ruling Monday that ordered the state to draw new congressional districts, including a second district with a substantial number of minority voters. The state is appealing. 

Read the clarification order below.

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