Holding a special election to fill a vacant local Missouri House of Representatives seat the same day as a primary election for the same seat was described as “tricky” by a state official Monday.
Holding a special election to fill a vacant local Missouri House of Representatives seat the same day as a primary election for the same seat was described as "tricky" by a state official Monday.
Friday, Gov. Jay Nixon scheduled a special election to be held Aug. 5, 2014, for the vacant House seat in the 120th Legislative District, which covers parts of Phelps and Crawford counties, as well as two other districts in the state with vacancies in the House.
Aug. 5 is also the date of the primary election for county and state legislative offices in Missouri.
This could result in some candidates appearing on two ballots simultaneously — one that would allow them to serve in the House for the final five months of 2014 and another that would make them their party's nominee for a regular two-year term to begin in January.
Laura Swinford, communications director for the Missouri secretary of state's office, said that when registered voters in the 120th District go to the polls Aug. 5, they will get two ballots.
The ballot for the special election will have only two candidates who will be nominated by the 120th District Republican and Democratic committees. These individuals could be sworn in sometime in August and will serve in the seat until January 2015.
The other ballot will have all of the candidates who have filed for the primary election. This may include the same nominees picked by the committees as well as anybody who wants to file.
The winning candidate in the primary will then go on to run in the November general election. The winner of the November election will then be sworn in to serve in the Missouri Legislature for the session that starts in January 2015.
Any nominee who is on the special election ballot as well as the primary ballot will have to pay two separate filing fees, Swinford said.
"It's tricky," she said.
Because there will be two different ballots, it does not contradict Missouri state law that prohibits candidates from appearing on the same ballot more than once.
Missouri state statute 115.351 states, "No person who files as a party candidate for nomination or election to an office shall, without withdrawing, file as another party's candidate or an independent candidate for nomination or election to the office for the same term.
"No person who files as an independent candidate for election to an office shall, without withdrawing, file as a party candidate for nomination or election to the office for the same term.
"No person shall file for one office and, without withdrawing, file for another office to be filled at the same election."
The 120th District covers the eastern portion of Phelps County, including the City of St. James, and most of Crawford County.
The vacancy in the district was created when Jason Smith won a special election in June 2013 to represent Missouri's Eighth District in Congress.
Also vacant are the House seat in the 67th District and the 151st District. Nixon also set elections for those districts on Aug. 5.
He did not set an election for the vacant Senate seat in the 22nd District.
After candidates are chosen by their party's committees for the special election, they have until 5 p.m. Monday, May 5, to file with the secretary of state's office.
Candidates filing for the primary can begin filing Feb. 25. The last day to file for the primary is March 25.