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Alabama candidates denied ballot access over noncompliance, party loyalty

Candidates across the state have been denied access to appear on the ballot, in most cases, for failure to comply with Alabama law requiring candidates to submit a statement of economic interests form.

This form requires candidates to lists sources of income and provide information about their household income and debt, if any.

In the Birmingham area alone, 13 Jefferson County candidates removed by the Alabama Secretary of State violated this law. Candidates in Bibb, Perry, Tuscaloosa, and Montgomery counties have also been barred from seeking election. 

Nine candidates in Walker County and two in Alexander City were also barred from seeking election due to their failure to submit an economic interest form.

Perry County’s Democratic Party made the decision to remove County Commissioner Ben Eaton from the Perry County Primary ballot. 

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This, again, was an issue regarding a failure to submit a statement of economic interests to the Secretary of State’s office.

Irva Reed, sister of Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed, also failed to submit her economic interests form and was barred from appearing on the ballot in Montgomery.

Failing to submit an economic interest form is not the only reason candidates are facing ballot access restrictions. 

The Alabama GOP state executive committee has bylaws stating that candidates who support members of the opposite party during a primary or general election can also be subject to ballot review.

Attorney Darold Matthews filed to run for office in Bibb County through the Alabama GOP headquarters. Later, Matthews learned that his name had been omitted from the list of certified candidates sent to the Secretary of State’s office.

Matthews’ ballot access was restricted due to two campaign donations he made in 2018 to Democrat candidates running for Circuit and Probate Judge.

In Tuscaloosa, businessman Trip Powell was removed from the ballot in a State Senate race for his campaign contributions to Democrats in prior elections.

Powell supported Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox during his race for Governor in 2018. 

Campaign contributions to opposing parties are a central factor in being disqualified from the ballot by the State’s Republican Executive Committee. 

The Alabama GOP bylaws read in part they have the authority to, “deny ballot access to a candidate for public or Party office if, in a prior election, that person participated in the primary election of another political party, publicly supported a nominee of another political party or an independent candidate, financially contributed to a candidate of another political party or an independent candidate, or was a member or officer of a club that is strictly aligned with another political party.”

“The provisions of this Rule shall apply for a period of six years after such person so participated, but actions taken by incumbent Republicans or 2022 Republican nominees prior to the passage of this amended standing rule shall be exempt from consideration.”

Grayson Everett is the state and political editor for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @Grayson270

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