Qualifying for municipal elections begins Tuesday, July 7, according to the Alabama League of Municipalities. Citizens will have until 5 p.m. on July 21 to enter these races.

Municipal elections will be held August 25 with a runoff, if needed, on Oct. 6. These dates impact cities and towns throughout DeKalb County as voters choose who will lead them until at least 2024.

Fort Payne City Clerk Andy Parker said his city’s qualifying fees to run for mayor or council are $50.

“In addition to the filing fee, the candidate must file forms with the Alabama Ethics Commission and the DeKalb County Probate Judge. Failure to file these forms will result in the candidate not being placed on the ballot. After the qualifying period ends, the ballots will be sent for printing and absentee election supplies will be delivered to the City Clerk by July 28th. All candidates will be given a packet of information detailing the various forms that need to be filed and the dates by which they are due,” Parker said.

He reminded candidates that a local sign ordinance prohibits any type of sign from being placed on the street right-of-way in Fort Payne. “Every election there are problems with candidates placing their signs on the street right-of-way. A good rule of thumb is to place the signs further off the road than a telephone pole,” he said.

This year, for Fort Payne’s municipal election only, voting locations were consolidated from five to two by the city council because of safety concerns about the poll workers and voters. The locations are the Wills Valley Recreation Center on Godfrey Avenue North and the VFW Hall on 18th Street N.E.

Because of the need to spread everyone out to allow for safe distancing, the voting will take place in the gym at Wills Valley Recreation Center and the main exhibition halls at the VFW.

This is expected to result in a greater demand for parking at these two locations, so seniors may have to walk farther than usual to reach their polling place. Parker said arrangements have been made to have golf carts and drivers available to carry anyone who needs assistance from the parking lots to the voting area.

“Constant sanitizing and disinfecting will be performed by City personnel at each voting location as well as the golf carts used to shuttle voters,” he said.

“During this election, because of COVID-19, absentee voting will be encouraged. There is a process that must be followed in order to vote by absentee ballot and the City Clerk’s office will have staff available to assist anyone who desires to vote by this method. The Clerk’s office will publish a calendar in the paper after the qualifying period ends that details the process to vote by absentee ballot and the dates allowed to do so,” said Parker.

If anyone desires to vote but is not registered to do so, please contact the DeKalb County Board of Registrars at 256-845-8598 and they will assist you in becoming a registered voter.

In order to be a candidate in the Municipal Election a person must have been a resident of Fort Payne by May 25, 2020. In order to vote in the Municipal Election a person must have been a resident by July 26, 2020. The last day to register to vote is August 10, 2020.

Several candidates have already announced their intentions to seek election or re-election to some of these positions. The Times-Journal will report on who qualifies on the opening day and again after the process of entering closes. Candidates countywide are welcome to submit written announcements and a photograph to the newspaper for publication at emily.kirby@times-journal.com. Please limit the announcements to 500 words.

For more information, contact your local city or town clerk.

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