FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, January 06, 2014
Contact: Kevin Flannery, (573) 526-0949
Kander Announces More Support for Military Candidate Filing Legislation
Jefferson City, Mo. — Secretary of State Jason Kander today announced the family of Scott County Prosecuting Attorney Paul Boyd is supporting legislation that would allow deployed members of the military to file as candidates for office by proxy. Boyd is a lieutenant colonel in the Missouri National Guard and the deputy staff judge advocate for the 35th Infantry Division, based in Lexington, Mo and Leavenworth, Kan. He is currently deployed in Afghanistan and plans to file for re-election as Scott County Prosecuting Attorney in February.
"This is a simple legislative fix that will allow members of our armed forces who choose to continue their public service by running for office to be on a level playing field with other candidates," Kander said. "I thank Senator Wallingford and Representatives Dugger and Newman for filing this bill and the Boyd family for their support, and I urge the legislature to take it up and pass it as the first bill this session."
"Soldiers and their families should not have to worry about their civilian jobs if they are called to serve our country," said Donna Boyd, wife of Lieutenant Colonel Boyd. "Up to now, Paul didn't know how he was going to be able to draw for a number on the ballot. This legislation will allow service members to have the same rights to run for office whether they are here or abroad serving our country."
Missouri law currently permits only those who appear in person on the first day of candidate filing to participate in a random drawing that determines the order names are placed on the ballot. Candidates serving on active military duty are often unable to file in person, and as a result are automatically placed on the ballot after all other candidates who filed on the first day. With Kander’s legislation, sponsored by Sen. Wayne Wallingford (R-Cape Girardeau) in the Senate and Reps. Tony Dugger (R-Hartville) and Stacey Newman (D-St. Louis) in the House, candidates on active duty can designate a proxy for in-person filing, giving members of the military equal opportunity to participate in the random drawing process that determines ballot placement.
"It’s no secret the order candidates’ names are listed on a ballot can have an impact on the outcome of an election," Wallingford said. "In Missouri, we’ve tried to nullify this effect by requiring candidates who file on the first day to draw numbers to decide ballot placement. After that, names are placed in the order they’re filed. It’s a fair system, except for one problem: Those who file by mail because of a disability or service in the military aren’t allowed to draw numbers. Instead, they’re placed in the order of their filing. This can put those candidates at a serious disadvantage, for no other reason than they’re physically unable to file in person. My legislation evens the playing field by allowing representatives for the candidates to draw numbers for ballot placement. I’m proud to work with the Secretary of State to ensure our election process is fair for all candidates."
If legislators approve the bill in the first month of the legislative session, active duty service members like Lieutenant Colonel Boyd would be allowed to designate a proxy when candidate filing opens on February 25th.
The legislation is SB 630 in the Senate and HB 1125 in the House.
Visit www.sos.mo.gov to learn more about the Office of the Missouri Secretary of State.
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