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January 17, 2014
Statement by Secretary of State Jim Bennett Regarding Judge Thompson’s Ruling on Election Deadlines

Secretary of State Jim Bennett announced today that the court order regarding the early qualifying date, as well as other deadline changes for this year’s election cycle, was handed down by Judge Myron Thompson.

“We are appreciative of the fact that Judge Thompson agreed with us that the schedule that will have qualifying of major party candidates ending on February 7th was the correct thing to do to ensure soldiers overseas have a chance to vote and have their vote counted,”  said Bennett.

The court order is in response to a remedial order agreed upon by the State of Alabama and the Department of Justice over a lawsuit filed for late military and overseas ballots that were sent out in 2010 and 2012.  Bennett became Secretary of State in 2013.

“We are pleased that this part of the process is concluded and that we can move forward with definite dates for this election cycle,” Bennett said.

Bennett said he felt like the Republican and Democratic parties were moving along quickly with the qualifying process and that many candidates have already filed.  “We believe that the word was sent to the parties in time for them to prepare for this change.  We appreciate their willingness to accommodate this schedule so we can get ballots out to our military in a timely and efficient manner,” said Bennett.

A bill to change Alabama’s law to reflect Bennett’s schedule is now in the hands of the legislature.  The House passed the bill on Thursday.   “We are still very much in need for HB62, sponsored by Representative Ron Johnson, and SB90, sponsored by Senator Bryan Taylor to be passed.  This change is vitally important as the schedule should be established in state law rather than a court order,” explained Bennett.

 “With this new early schedule, chances for error are reduced and plenty of time is provided for our Absentee Election Managers to send out military ballots on time.  It is and always will be a priority for this office that our soldiers overseas have the opportunity to vote and for those votes to be counted,” said Bennett.

 

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For more information, visit Secretary of State Jim Bennett’s Web Site:  http://www.sos.alabama.gov/