2012 Presidential Preference Primary in Missouri
Questions & Answers
Which political parties can participate in the Presidential Preference Primary?
Only established political parties, as defined in section 115.013, can participate. In Missouri, those parties are the Democratic, Republican, Libertarian and Constitution Parties.
Must Presidential Preference Primary candidates file their requests to be included on the primary ballot in person?
No. Presidential preference primary candidates file a written request to be included on the presidential primary ballot with the Secretary of State’s office. The only exception is the random drawing on the first day which requires either the candidate or the candidate’s representative. Section 115.355, which requires in-person candidate filing, does not apply to presidential primary candidates.
Can a person file a request to be included on the Presidential Preference Primary ballot and file a declaration of candidacy for another office in Missouri?
Yes. Section 115.351 specifically permits this. A person may not, however, accept the nomination for President or Vice-President of the United States and appear on the general election ballot as a candidate for another office in Missouri. A person who is nominated for President or Vice-President is deemed to have withdrawn from any other race by operation of law. (See section 115.359)
Will the Secretary of State accept requests to be included on the Presidential Preference Primary ballot prior to 8:00 a.m. on October 25, 2011?
No. Section 115.761 requires the Secretary of State to certify a list of candidates who have filed a request “on or after 8:00 a.m. on the fifteenth Tuesday prior to the presidential primary, and on or before 5:00 p.m., on the eleventh Tuesday prior to the presidential primary.” The Secretary of State has no authority to certify a candidate whose request is filed either early or late. Filings received prior to 8:00 a.m. on October 25, 2011 will be returned.
- How will the Secretary of State determine the order in which candidate names will appear on the ballot?
After the first day for filing, how will the Secretary of State determine the ballot position of two or more candidates whose requests arrive in the same day’s mail?
The Secretary of State will list the candidate with the earlier postmark first. If two or more postmarks are identical, they will be listed in the order in which the mail is processed. If candidates are concerned about their position on the ballot, they should file on the first day, and participate in the random drawing, either in person or through an authorized representative.
What is the role of a candidate representative and how is one designated?
A candidate may authorize a representative to: draw a random number to determine the candidate’s ballot position on the first day of filing pursuant to section 115.765; file a request to have the candidate’s name removed from the ballot pursuant to section 115.761; receive correspondence; or otherwise act on behalf of the candidate, consistent with applicable provisions of Missouri election law, after the request to be included on the Presidential Preference Primary ballot is filed. The Secretary of State provides a form, which must be signed and notarized, to designate a representative. Because the representative who draws the random number must be present in the office of the Secretary of State on October 25, 2011, a candidate may wish to designate one representative local to Missouri for that purpose, and another for all other purposes. A form for first-day filers is available to accomplish this. There is no requirement that a candidate designate a representative.
Can one person act as a representative for more than one candidate?
Yes. Nothing in sections 115.750-785 prohibits this.
What if a candidate’s request is received on the first day of filing, and neither the candidate nor a representative is available to draw a random number to determine ballot position?
If a request is delivered to the Secretary of State between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on October 25, 2011, and neither the candidate nor a representative is available to draw a random number, the request will be treated as if it had arrived at 5:01 p.m. That candidate’s name will appear on the ballot after those of the same party who are present to participate in the drawing.
- Does Chapter 115 apply to the Presidential Preference Primary?
For the most part, yes. Section 115.770 provides: “the conduct of the presidential preference primary election and the count and canvass of the votes cast therein shall conform as nearly as is practicable to that prescribed for the conduct of the primary election for state officers.” Certain sections of Chapter 115, most notably those relating to the procedure for filing a declaration of candidacy, and those relating to the replacement of candidates due to death, disqualification and withdrawal are incompatible with sections 115.750-785, and do not apply to the Presidential Preference Primary.
Do any of the withdrawal and replacement provisions of sections 115.359-379 apply to the Presidential Preference Primary?
No. Sections 115.359-379 apply to those who have filed a declaration of candidacy. Presidential Primary candidates instead file a request to be included on the ballot pursuant to section 115.761. Consequently, if a candidate withdraws for any reason, no replacement provisions exist.
What is the last day to withdraw as a candidate from the Presidential Preference Primary and is there any way for a candidate’s name to be removed from the ballot after that date?
Section 115.761 requires that any candidate desiring to do so must withdraw on or before 5:00 p.m. on November 22, 2011. The Secretary of State has no authority to remove a properly filed candidate’s name from the ballot except pursuant to a withdrawal submitted in accordance with section 115.761.3.
Can a person cast a write-in vote in the Presidential Preference Primary pursuant to the provisions of section 115.453?
No. Write-in votes are not permitted in a primary election in Missouri. See section 115.453.(5).
Are absentee ballots permitted in the Presidential Preference Primary?
Yes. Absentee balloting will be permitted just as at any primary election. (See section 115.770) Voters will be required to state in the absentee ballot application which party ballot they wish to receive. (Section 115.279.2)
Are challengers and watchers permitted in the polling place during the Presidential Preference Primary?
Yes. In addition to their usual role, at the Presidential Preference Primary, challengers are allowed to record voters’ party ballot preferences. (Section 115.105.4)
What is an “uncommitted” vote?
Most parties allow delegates who are not committed to any particular candidate to participate in their caucuses and conventions. Voters in the Presidential Preference Primary will have the choice of voting “uncommitted,” in other words, in favor of allowing delegates from their party to use their own judgment when they attend the state and national caucuses and conventions. (See Section 115.767)
Will the Board of State Canvassers convene following the Presidential Preference Primary election?
Yes. Section 115.770 provides: “the conduct of the presidential preference primary election and the count and canvass of the votes cast therein shall conform as nearly as is practicable to that prescribed for the conduct of the primary election for state officers.” The Board will convene to canvass the vote just as in a state primary.
What will the Secretary of State do with the results of the Presidential Preference Primary election?
The Secretary of State’s duty under section 115.511 is to announce the results of a primary election, and under section 115.773, to “notify the state chair of each of the established political parties for whom a candidate was listed” of the results of the election.
Candidates who file a request on the first day and who are present, either in person or through a representative, will participate in a random drawing to determine ballot position. After the first day, candidates’ names will be listed in the order in which their requests are received in the office of the Secretary of State.