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Merrill seeking clarification on qualifying deadline 

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said he hopes for more clarification today on what this week’s federal court ruling means for candidate qualifying for this year’s elections.

That qualifying deadline was originally Friday. But 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, moved qualifying to Feb. 11.

It was unclear Tuesday whether that date change was only for congressional candidates or also for state- or county-level races.

On Alabama Public Television’s Capitol Journal Tuesday, Merrill said a meeting is scheduled today to get more information on the ruling’s date change.

“What we hope is that the judges’ and the plaintiff’s attorneys’ intention are that we are simply talking about the congressional districts, we’re not talking about legislative districts, we’re not talking about state-wide offices, we’re not talking about county offices that are all on the ballot,” Merrill said. 

Merrill said he’d like to see qualifying end Friday, as planned for months, for all races except congressional.

“We’ll find out (today) if that’s the case,” Merrill said.

Merrill said his advice to state or local candidates is to qualify by Friday.

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