On April 19, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey called a special U.S. Senate election for December 12, 2017. The previous Governor, who was in office until earlier this month, had refused to call such an election until November 2018. See this story. Thanks to Mike Drucker for this news.
If any independent candidate, or any unqualified party, wishes to participate in this election, 35,413 valid signatures must be submitted by August 15. It would be possible to argue that the state should reduce the number of signatures, given that less than four months remains to gather these signatures, whereas normally a petition may take as long as the circulating group wishes. However, the state is not at this time voluntarily reducing the number of signatures.