Unusual state law disqualifies two Huntsville candidates from city council, school board races

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Two candidates running for seats in the Aug. 28 Huntsville municipal elections will not appear on the ballot because of an unusual state law.

Les Tillery, who planned to run for the Huntsville City Council District 2, and Beason Fordham, a candidate for the District 2 Huntsville Board of Education seat, were disqualified due to the timing of their candidate filings.

Both men ran up against a state law that requires a candidate to file their candidate qualifying documents and their statement of economic interests simultaneously, or on the same day.

State law also says a candidate who already has a statement of economic interests filing on file with the state, doesn’t have to submit a new one during qualifying.

Tillery said he was unaware of the statute and filed both forms but on different days. Under the process supervised by the Alabama Ethics Commission, the commission has five days to notify local election officials whether the forms were correctly submitted, he said.

Tillery said he submitted both forms, but didn’t receive notice of the day discrepancy until after candidate qualifying was completed.

He told WHNT News 19 he's since learned that a candidate can refile his qualifying paperwork at the same time of the economic interest statement, and meet the standard, but if they’re only filed once – on different days – the candidate is disqualified.

Tillery said his appeals to the Alabama Ethics Commission were unsuccessful.

Fordham said he also ran into a qualifying deadline time crunch. By the time his separate filings were recognized, it was too late to refile.

The statement of economic interests is part of the 2010 overhaul of Alabama’s Ethics Laws. The statement outlines a candidate’s general sources of income, debt and investments, and family members.

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