Bullock County probate judge candidate disqualified from race

John Merrill_James Tatum
[Photo Credit: John Merrill facebook page]

Last week, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill joined incumbent Bullock County Probate Judge James Tatum in publicly disqualifying his opponent; independent candidate Justin Faulk.

Merrill and Tatum met in front of the Bullock County Courthouse on Tuesday to publicly discuss the reasons Faulk was being disqualified. According to the two men Faulk did not send in the required financial form in the alloted timeframe.

Since Faulk was running as an independent, a petition signed by members of the community was required to provide him with ballot access. The two men also accuse Faulk, or some of his supporters, of forging signatures on the petition he sent to Tatum’s office in June.

Tatum said that after receiving and reviewing the 18 pages and 102 signatures of the petition, it was clear some of the signatures were signed by the same person. Tatum then turned the petition over to Merrill’s office where it was investigated.

“As a result of this investigation it was determined that several of those signatures were invalid,” Tatum told the gathering. “Now this is unethical. It’s dishonest, it’s illegal, it is wrong, and it’s corruption at the highest; and this will not be tolerated,” he continued.

Faulk told WSFA that he did send in the required paperwork, both to the probate office and the Alabama Ethics Commission. Tatum said the probate office was not the correct place to send the paperwork, and that he never received it.

“In regards to the petition, Faulk said as far he knew, every one of the signatures is valid, not forged by him or his five primary supporters who handled the petition,” WSFA reported. “In fact, Bullock County Sheriff Raymond Rogers told WSFA that based on his own investigation, the signatures were not forged and that they were all signed by the very people listed on the 18 pages.”

“We’re good, honest people and I will defend myself because I know I am right and he’s wrong,” Faulk said, WSFA reported.

Watch Tatum and Merrill’s full press conference below: