SB 282 Modifies numerous laws relating to elections
Sponsor: Engler
LR Number: 1542S.04T Fiscal Note: 1542-04T.ORG
Committee: Financial and Governmental Organizations and Elections
Last Action: 9/14/2011 - No motion made to override Governor's veto Journal Page:
Title: CCS HCS SB 282 Calendar Position: 15
Effective Date: August 28, 2011
House Handler: Dugger

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CCS/HCS/SB 282 - This act modifies numerous laws relating to elections.

PUBLIC OFFICE VACANCIES (Sections 26.016, 27.015, 28.190, 29.280, 30.060, 30.080, 105.030, 105.040, 105.050)

Currently, the Governor has statutory authority to fill vacancies until successors are elected for the office of United States Senator; various state and county offices filled by election; circuit attorney, prosecuting attorney, and assistant prosecuting attorney offices; and all statewide offices excluding Lieutenant Governor. This act requires the Governor to fill all vacated statewide offices and the office of United States Senator by special election for the remainder of each respective term.

In the case of vacancies for Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, and Treasurer, the Governor shall take charge of the vacated office and superintend business until the successor is elected by special election. In the case of a vacancy in the office of Auditor and Attorney General, the Governor shall appoint an acting Auditor and Attorney General who shall take charge of the vacated office and superintend business until the successor is elected by special election.

If the Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Auditor, or Treasurer are impeached, such individuals shall be suspended until the impeachment is determined. If convicted, the Governor shall fill the vacancy by special election. Currently, in the case of the impeachment of the Secretary of State, the office shall be filled by appointment until impeachment is determined. If convicted, the Governor shall then fill the vacancy by special election.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT OFFICE REQUIREMENTS AND ELECTIONS

County collectors are required to be 21 years old, a resident of the county in which he or she is a candidate for at least one year prior to the election and remain a resident of the county in which he or she is elected throughout his or her term of office. Candidates for such office are required to present the election authority with a signed affidavit from a surety company indicating that the candidate meets the statutory bond requirements for the office. (Section 52.010)

Currently, the county commission is required to appoint an interim treasurer in the event of a vacancy of the office except in counties with a charter form of government. This act creates the same exception for counties having a township form of government for the office of collector-treasurer. (Section 54.033)

County collector-treasurers are required to be 21 years old, registered voters, current in the payment of all state income and personal and real property taxes, a resident of the county in which he or she is a candidate for at least one year prior to the election and remain a resident of the county in which he or she is elected throughout his or her term of office. Candidates for such office are required to present the election authority with a signed affidavit from a surety company indicating that the candidate meets the statutory bond requirements for the office. Collector-treasurers shall have the sole authority to appoint deputies. (Section 54.330)

Third class cities are allowed to eliminate primary elections for mayor and councilmen offices. (Section 78.090)

Under current law, the county clerk or the board of election commissioners is the election authority. This act designates the director of elections as the election authority in charter counties that do not have a board of election commissioners or a county clerk with the powers and duties subject to any limitations set forth in the county's charter. (Section 115.015)

Currently, elections are not required to be held in nonpartisan elections in political subdivisions and special districts when the number of candidates equals the number of positions to be filled except in municipal elections. This act modifies that exception to only include municipal elections in cities, towns, or villages with more than 35,000 inhabitants. Election authorities are required to publish notice including the names of officials to be seated by April 1 of each year in at least one newspaper of general circulation in the political subdivision or district when those elections are not held. (Section 115.124)

The filing period for offices filled by elections on the general municipal election day shall be between the first Tuesday in December of the year prior to the election and the first Tuesday after the first Monday in January of the election year. Elections in counties with a charter form of government, except Jefferson county, are excluded from this provision. (Section 115.127)

ELECTION AND PRIMARY DATES

The date of the presidential primary is moved from the first Tuesday after the first Monday in February to the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March. (Sections 115.123, 115.755)

The first Tuesday after the first Monday in June is no longer available as a date for public elections. (Section 115.123)

ABSENTEE VOTERS

This act removes a provision that requires ballots of deceased absentee voters to be rejected when sufficient evidence is shown to the election authority that the voter has died prior to the opening of the polls on election day. (Section 115.293)

BONDING REQUIREMENTS FOR CANDIDATES

Candidates for public office (with the exception of those in special districts, townships, cities, towns, or villages) are required to declare under penalty of perjury that they are not aware of any information that would prohibit the candidate from fulfilling any bonding requirements. Such individuals filing for an election with a bonding requirement shall file an affidavit from a surety company indicating that the candidate meets the bonding requirements for the office with the department of revenue. (Section 115.342)

RECOUNT

Currently, candidates who are defeated by less than 1% and persons whose position on a question was defeated by less than 1% have the right to a recount. This act reduces those thresholds to less than ½ of 1%. (Section 115.601)

ELECTION OFFENSES

Discouraging, hampering, pressuring, or attempting to prevent another from filing for public office for the purpose of eliminating the requirement to hold special elections in certain instances is established as a class 4 election offense. (Section 115.637)

AMBULANCE DISTRICT BOARD RECALLS (190.056)

Each member of an ambulance district board of directors shall be subject to recall from office by the registered voters of the election district from which he or she was elected. Proceedings for the recall are commenced by the filing of a notice of intention to circulate a recall petition.

The notice must be served personally, or by certified mail, on the board member and filed with the election authority. A separate notice is needed for each member sought to be recalled and must contain information explaining the reason for the recall. It must list at least one but not more than five proponents of the recall.

Within seven days, the board member may file a statement answering the statement of the proponents. The answer must be served on at least one proponent. The statement and answer are for the voters' informational purposes only.

A member cannot be recalled if he or she: 1) has not held office during the current term for more than 180 days; 2) has 180 days or less remaining on his or her current term; or 3) has had a recall election determined in his or her favor within the current term.

The person circulating the petition must sign an affidavit verifying certain information. A recall petition must be filed with the election authority not more than 180 days after the filing of the notice of intention. The number of signatures needed shall equal at least 25% of the number of voters who voted in the most recent gubernatorial election in the election district.

The election authority has twenty days from the date of filing the petition to determine if enough voters signed the petition. It must file a certificate showing whether there are enough signatures. If the election authority certifies the petition does not have enough signatures, it may be supplemented within ten days of the date of certificate. The election authority must then certify the supplemented petition. If it is insufficient, no further action shall be taken.

If the petition is sufficient, the election authority shall submit its certificate to the board of directors and order an election within a certain amount of time. Nominations for board membership openings shall be made by filing a statement of candidacy with the election authority.

Any time prior to forty-two days before the election, the member sought to be recalled may offer his or her resignation and the recall question shall be removed from the ballot and the office declared vacant.

BALLOT REQUIREMENTS

Party emblems shall not longer be printed on the ballot above the party caption. (Section 115.241)

PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE REQUIREMENTS

Raises the payment a potential presidential candidate shall pay the state committee fo the party on whose ballot the candidate wishes to appear from $1,000 to $5,000 for elections held on or before December 1, 2012 and $10,000 for any election thereafter. (115.761)

This act is similar to SCS/SB 84 (2005), SB 726 (2006), SB 138 (2007), SB 797 (2008), SB 70 (2009), SB 266 (2011), SB 292 (2011), SB 226 (2011), HB 187 (2011), HB 796 (2011), and HB 217 (2011), HCS/SCS/SB 270 (2011).

CHRIS HOGERTY