Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon earlier this month vetoed a bill that he said would limit the rights of Missouri citizens to support write-in candidates.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon earlier this month vetoed a bill that he said would limit the rights of Missouri citizens to support write-in candidates.
The legislation, SB 593, would have allowed certain political subdivisions to waive conducting non-partisan elections.
Under current law, with the exception of municipal elections, nonpartisan elections in political subdivisions and special districts, such as school districts, do not need to be held when the number of candidates who have filed is equal to the number of positions to be filled for the office.
The bill’s language states that the governing body of municipalities with 1,000 or fewer inhabitants may pass an ordinance to forego such elections when the number of filed candidates is the same as the number of positions that need to be filled.
The governing body’s authority to forego these elections in this scenario would have to be renewed every six years by voters.
In the governor’s veto letter dated July 2, he noted that if municipalities would be allowed to waive elections in these cases, voters could not support write-in candidates and “therefore (this bill) does not receive my approval.”
In 2011, Nixon vetoed a similar piece of legislation but at that time, the bill contained a provision that would have cancelled elections with this scenario in municipalities with populations of less then 35,000. That bill would have affected more than 900 municipalities in Missouri.
The bill the governor vetoed this time would have affected about 650 municipalities in the state.
When Nixon vetoed the 2011 bill, he said it would prevent citizens from electing a candidate through a write-in process, “which is particularly important when voters learn something negative about the declared candidate after the deadline for filing but before the election.”
Nixon said it is in small municipalities that a write-in candidate is more likely to succeed.
Local write-in votes
In Phelps County, this bill would have affected three municipalities — Newburg, Doolittle and Edgar Springs.
In the April election earlier this year, there were three seats up for election on the Doolittle Board of Aldermen as well as the mayor position. All four incumbents were the only individuals to file for the offices.
In the mayor race, there were 50 votes cast for incumbent Mayor Paul Smith and five write-in votes. Ronnie Bramlett ran unopposed to retain his Ward 1 seat on the board. There were 22 votes cast for him and two write-in votes.
For the Ward 2 seat, there were 12 votes cast for incumbent Zelma Smith and no write-in votes.
Roy Stevenson received 22 votes in the April election, but there also was one write-in vote cast for the Ward 3 seat.
In Newburg, incumbent Mayor James Poucher was the only person to file for that office in the April election. He received 23 votes, but there were also five write-in votes cast.
However, in April 2012, Poucher ran unopposed and received 13 votes that time, but 10 write-in votes were also cast for that position.
There were two seats up for election on the Newburg Board of Aldermen in April 2014, but only one was uncontested. Bill Stines ran unopposed in Ward 2. H got 10 votes but one write-in vote was cast for that office.
In Edgar Springs, only one of the two alderman seats was contested. But there were no write-in votes in either of the elections for those two offices.