SB 0346 Modifies provisions of election law, including the Presidential Primary
LR Number:L1461.06C Fiscal Note:1461-06
Committee:Elections, Veterans' Affairs & Corrections
Last Action:05/14/99 - H Inf Calendar S Bills for Third Reading w/HCS Journal page:
Title:HCS SCS SB 346
Effective Date:August 28, 1999
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Current Bill Summary

HCS/SCS/SB 346 - This act modifies various provisions of Missouri's election law.

PRESIDENTIAL PREFERENCE PRIMARY - This act modifies various provisions relating to the presidential preference primary, enacted in SB 709 (1998). It changes the Presidential Preference Primary from the first Tuesday in April to the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March.

Election judges at the presidential primary must note the party ballot selected by each voter, which shall be forwarded with the information required to be sent to the Centralized Voter Registration System maintained by the Secretary of State. Such information shall be destroyed no later than the January following the presidential election. Provisions specifying selection of convention delegates are removed.

If a candidate for office in Missouri is certified as the presidential candidate, or becomes the candidate for Vice President, the candidate is withdrawn by operation of law as a candidate for any other office at the same election.

This act allows the use of separate paper ballots for presidential primary ballots in any polling place that uses an electronic voting system, which is designed to reduce the total number of ballots necessary for the election.

Under the act, the Secretary of State is not required to provide state party chairs with the number of votes cast for each candidate in each congressional district, as required in current law.

Currently, the State pays only those costs that pertain directly to the presidential preference primary. Under this act, all costs of the presidential preference primary shall be paid by the State, except that the State, political subdivisions and special districts shall pay costs proportionately when holding an election on the same day (in accordance with current law).

The St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners may hold a mail-in ballot election for the 2000 Presidential Primary only.

COMMITTEE MEETINGS - Currently, the county courthouse in a Second, Third, or Fourth Classification County is available for committee meetings of each Congressional District Committee, Legislative District Committee, Senatorial District Committee, Judicial District and County Committee. This act adds First Classification County courthouses.

DEADLINE CHANGES - This act changes the filing deadline for financial interest statements from 25th day after the election to the 21st day.

It also changes the deadline for withdrawal by a candidate who agrees to pay the cost of reprinting ballots, however, the deadline is still no later than 6 weeks before the election.

This act also changes the deadline for the Secretary of State to notify election authorities of certification of candidates by nominating committees from "immediate" to "a timely fashion".

The deadline for the election authority to deliver the abstract of votes to the Secretary of State is changed from the Thursday after the second Tuesday after each election to the second Tuesday after the election.

This act also changes the date that the election authority mails or delivers the abstract of the votes given from the Thursday after the second Tuesday after each election to the second Tuesday after each election.

The meeting date of the Legislative District Committee is changed from the Wednesday after the third Tuesday in August to the third Wednesday after each August primary election. The meeting date of the Senatorial District Committee is changed from the Saturday after the third Tuesday in August to the third Saturday after each August primary election.

A candidate's name shall not be printed on the ballot unless the candidate files a declaration of candidacy no later than the last Tuesday in March. Exceptions are currently provided for candidates withdrawing, disqualified or deceased. This act also provides an exception for presidential primary candidates.

PETITION CIRCULATORS - In response to a recent U.S. Supreme Court case, Buckley v. American Constitutional Law, No. 97-930, 1999 WL 7723 (U.S.), a requirement that petition circulators be registered voters is removed. The Supreme Court held that requiring petition circulators to be registered voters, among other things, violated First Amendment freedom of speech rights.

VOTER REGISTRATION APPLICATIONS - Requires use of the last four digits of a voter's Social Security Number, and makes the statement of place of birth optional on voter registration applications.

ELECTRONIC INFORMATION - All election authorities must establish fees for registration information provided by electronic media or printout in accordance with the Open Records Law (Chapter 610, RSMo). All fees collected by the Secretary of State shall be credited to Secretary of State's Technology Trust Fund. This act also requires election authorities to put voter history information in their computer systems and provide such information to the Secretary of State's centralized voter registration system, within six months of the election. Nothing requires voter information to be released over the Internet.

The centralized voter registration system shall provide each election authority with the ability to store and retrieve documents electronically, effective July 1, 2000.

ELECTION OFFENSES - It is illegal for non-incumbent candidates to lead voters to believe they are incumbents. Current law allows the Secretary of State to seize the material in question. This act, instead, states that such an action is a Class Four election offense (misdemeanor).

NOMINATING COMMITTEES - This act prohibits any nominating committee member from acting as chair in certification of such person's own selection as candidate.

WRITE-IN CANDIDATES - Write-in candidates currently file with the election authority prior to 5 p.m. on the second Friday before election day. This act requires local write-in candidates to file with the election authority and requires the election authority to notify the proper filing officer of the write-in candidate prior to 5 p.m. on the second Friday before election day. Any candidate for state or federal office must file with the Secretary of State under the current deadline. The Secretary of State transmits copies of properly filed write-in declarations to proper election authorities.

ABSENTEE VOTING - Any person providing assistance to an absentee voter must sign a statement stating that, due to the voter's physical disability, such person marked the voter's ballot at the direction of the voter, and had no other communication as to how the voter was to vote. For identification purposes, the person assisting the voter must provide his or her name and address on the statement, and sign under the penalty of perjury.

The election authority shall appoint and may hire a bi- partisan team, each appointed by the chair of the two major political parties in the county, to assist and collect absentee ballots when requested. Such persons shall be paid the federal minimum wage, to be reimbursed by the Secretary of State. It is a Class Three Election Offense for any person to assist or collect ballots without other members of the team. A Class Three Election Offense is a Misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year imprisonment or $2,500 fine or both, and any person convicted of such offense is forever barred from voting in Missouri.

VOTER REGISTRATION - Effective July 1, 2000, the election authority shall accept post card voter registration applications on the federal or state post card forms, if the applicant has signed the card. If the election authority determines the applicant is not qualified to vote, the election authority may reject the application.

REPORTS FILED WITH THE ETHICS COMMISSION - Campaign finance reports filed by statewide candidates shall be filed electronically, except when $5,000 or less is received by the committee during a reporting period. This requirement is effective January 1, 2000. This provision is similar to SB 412 (1999) and part of SCS/SBs 31 & 285 (1999). In addition, candidates for office who are required to file financial disclosure statements must do so within 21 days of the last day to file for the office. Current law allows filing within 25 days.

BALLOT MEASURES - This act requires multiple ballot measures with identical or nearly identical ballot titles to be renamed upon consultation of the election authority with the governing bodies that submitted the measures.

STATEWIDE ELECTION BALLOT REPRINTING COSTS - The State shall pay for any costs associated with the reprinting of any statewide ballot, if necessary due to circumstances beyond the control of the election authorities.

This act is similar to SCS/HCS/HB 676 (1999).