John Merrill details process for filling Mobile judicial vacancy

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A vacancy created in Mobile’s 13th Judicial Circuit has created the need to establish new rules regarding how the vacancy will be filled. Despite the vacancy having been already filled by a Republican appointee, the position will appear on the General Election ballot in November.

The issue is a convoluted one: Before a law change two years ago, judges who resigned midterm were replaced by a governor-picked appointee who would finish the judge’s term. The new law requires that the new appointee must run for the seat being filled in the nearest election.

However, the 13th Judicial Circuit vacancy occurred after the November qualifying deadline, leaving other political parties unable to put forth their candidates for the seat for the primaries. For that reason, Secretary of State John Merrill has established new guidelines to add more candidates to the November ballot.

A statement from Merrill’s office details the process:

  • Each major political party (i.e., the Alabama Democratic Party and the Alabama Republican Party) interested in nominating a candidate for this seat shall file the name of its certified candidate with the Secretary of State’s Office not later than noon April 27, 2016.
  • A minor political party interested in nominating a candidate for this seat shall file its petition for ballot access along with the name of its certified candidate with the Secretary of State’s Office not later than noon  April 27, 2016.
  • An individual interested in running as an independent candidate for this seat shall file his or her petition for ballot access with the Secretary of State’s Office not later than noon April 27, 2016.
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