"It does not take a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brush fires of freedom in the minds of men."

- Samuel Adams

Monday, April 2, 2012

PCO Elections and House Bill 1860

On March 29 the governor signed Engrossed Third Substitute Bill 1860 regarding election of PCOs. The bill contains an emergency clause and takes effect immediately. A summary of the bill appears below:

SUMMARY: Elections for PCOs must be held at the primary election in even-numbered years. Only contested races may appear on the ballot, and write-in candidates are not allowed. If no one files for office, the position must be filled by the county chair of the county central committee of the appropriate political party. If only one person files for office, he or she is deemed elected.

County auditors may offer the PCO election on a consolidated ballot or a physically separate ballot. If a consolidated ballot is used, the race for the PCO must be clearly delineated from other races on the ballot. If a physically separate ballot is used, it must be distinguishable from the top two primary ballot. A ballot is not invalidated if it is returned outside of the security envelope.

Ballot instructions must include the following statement: "In order to vote for precinct committee officer, a partisan office, you must affirm that you are a Democrat or a Republican and may vote only for one candidate from the party you select. Your vote for a candidate affirms your affiliation with the same party as the candidate. This preference is private and will not be matched to your name or shared."

Party affiliation is affirmed by including the following statement after the name of each candidate: "I affirm that I am a Democrat" if the candidate is a Democrat, or "I affirm that I am a Republican" if the candidate is a Republican. In the event a voter votes for candidates from both parties, the votes cast for PCO on the ballot are not counted.

If a provision of the act is held invalid, the remainder of the act is not affected.

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