Have we ever elected a write in mayor?
— Bruce Franks Jr (@brucefranksjr) March 9, 2017
Late last week new state rep Bruce Franks Jr. was considering a run for mayor as a write-in candidate, but half a day later he decided not to leave the 78th district that elected him to replace Penny Hubbard.
Today’s post isn’t about Franks or the mayoral race — it’s about write-in vs independent candidates. Some local media understands the difference, some do not. Below are three reports when Franks was considering a write-in campaign:
Under state law, Franks has to sign a declaration of intent and deliver it the Board of Election Commissioners by March 24 to become certified as a write-in candidate.
Earlier Thursday afternoon, Franks sent a tweet posing a simple question: has St. Louis elected a write-in candidate as mayor?
Franks has until March 24 to obtain the necessary signatures, sign a declaration of intent, and deliver them to the Board of Election Commissioners to appear on the ballot.
In order for Franks to be on the April 4 ballot, state law requires franks get necessary signatures, sign a declaration of intent and deliver them to the Board of Election Commissioners by March 24.
The last two mention required signatures but the first doesn’t. All three mention a declaration of intent. So what’s the deal? Let’s start with Fox2’s last sentence: “Franks has until March 24 to obtain the necessary signatures, sign a declaration of intent, and deliver them to the Board of Election Commissioners to appear on the ballot.” (Emphasis added)
Yes, signatures are required if a candidate wants to appear on a general election ballot as an independent (non-party) candidate. A write-in candidate, however, is trying to get voters to write-in their name because they’re not on the ballot.
I shouldn’t be surprised some media didn’t get this right, the St. Louis Board of Elections page How To File For Office fails to explain th three types of candidacy: political party, independent, and write-in. The Missouri Secretary of State website does a much better job of explaining this to candidates:
Primary Election August 7, 2018
The 2018 primary will be held on Tuesday, August 7, 2018 (the 1st Tuesday after the 1st Monday in August for even numbered years, Section 115.121.2, RSMo.). The filing period for candidates for the August 2018 primary election is from February 27, 2018 and ends at 5:00 p.m. on March 27, 2018. (Section 115.349, RSMo.) Individuals voting in the primary election may select a party ballot of his or her choice.
Voters who do not wish to select a party ballot may request a ballot containing other issues, if their jurisdiction’s ballot contains issues.
The five established parties in Missouri are: Republican, Democratic, Libertarian, Green, and Constitution.
Deadline for submitting petitions for independent candidate nominations for the November 6, 2018 election: 5:00 p.m. July 30, 2018 (Section 115.329.1, RSMo.)
Deadline for submitting a write-in candidate declaration of intent for the November 6, 2018 election: 5:00 p.m. October 26, 2018 (Section 115.453(4), RSMo.)
A write-in candidate is a person whose name is not printed on the ballot (Section 115.453(4-6), RSMo.) and who has filed a declaration of intent to be a write-in candidate for election to office with the proper election authority prior to 5:00 p.m. on October 26, 2018 (Section 115.453(4), RSMo.) It is not necessary to file a declaration of intent if there are no candidates on the ballot for that office (Section 115.453(4), RSMo.)
Establishing a New Party
The deadline for submitting petitions for new parties and candidate nominations for the November 6, 2018 election is 5:00 p.m. on July 30, 2018 (Section 115.329.1, RSMo.) Please contact the Elections Division for more information at 573-751-2301 or email at [email protected]
Locally officials don’t want the public to know how to run, but the April 4th ballot includes 6 candidates for mayor. Writing in a name for someone not officially declared as an independent candidate doesn’t count — even if that name got the most votes.
— Steve Patterson