MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A federal judge has backed the Feb. 7 deadline for major party candidates to qualify for Alabama's election. Secretary of State Jim Bennett said Friday that a judge approved the date as part of a lawsuit that the U.S. Department of Justice filed against Alabama to make sure military personnel and other U.S. citizens living overseas would have enough time to cast their ballots. The lawsuit led to an agreement to move up the qualifying deadline for Republican and Democratic candidates. The qualifying period was originally supposed to end on April 4. Bennett urged Alabama state lawmakers to pass legislation that would move up the qualifying date.