From 1992 until 2000, the state held a presidential primary election. The state repealed its presidential primary election in 2003. Section 1 of the bill restores this election. Specifically, it requires the state to hold a presidential primary election on a Tuesday on a date designated by the governor, in consultation with the secretary of state. The date selected for the primary must be no earlier than the date the national rules of the major political parties provide for state delegations to the party's national convention to be allocated without penalty, not later than the third Tuesday in March in years in which a United States presidential election will be held, and not less than 14 days after the date of the precinct caucus in that election year. The governor is required to select the date of the presidential primary election no later than September 1 in the year before the presidential primary election will be held.
Each major political party (political party) that has a qualified candidate entitled to participate in the presidential primary election is entitled to participate in the primary election and must have a separate party ballot. At the presidential primary election, an elector may vote only for a candidate on the ballot of the political party with which the elector has declared an affiliation. An unaffiliated eligible elector may declare an affiliation with a political party to the election judges at the presidential primary election.
A ballot used in a presidential primary election must only contain the names of candidates for the office of the president. The ballot shall not be used for the purpose of presenting any other issue or question to the electorate.
By vote of the majority of the members of the state central committee of a major political party, the political party may elect not to participate in a presidential primary election by notice of such intention delivered to the secretary of state.
Not later than 60 days before the presidential primary election, the bill requires the secretary of state (secretary) to certify the names and party affiliations of the candidates to be placed on a presidential primary election ballot. The bill specifies eligibility requirements that candidates must meet to have their names placed on the primary election ballot, and requires the names of candidates appearing on the presidential primary election ballot to be in an order determined by lot in a public meeting. The secretary determines the method of drawing lots.
The bill permits legal challenges to the listing of any candidate on the presidential primary election ballot and specifies procedures governing such challenges.
The bill specifies circumstances under which a write-in vote will be counted and the certification of results. The bill also requires each political party to use the results of the presidential primary election to allocate delegate votes to presidential candidates in accordance with state or national party rules.
Section 2 modifies the definition of "primary election" contained in the "Uniform Election Code of 1992" to include presidential primary elections.
Section 3 restricts a candidate in a presidential primary from circulating petitions before the first Monday in November of the year preceding the year in which the presidential primary election is held. This section also requires a candidate to file a petition no later than the second day of January in the year of the presidential primary election.
Section 4 clarifies existing statutory provisions governing primary elections conducted as mail ballot elections to specify that, in the case of a primary election, including a presidential primary election, each active registered elector must be mailed the ballot for the political party with which the elector is affiliated and that nothing in the relevant statutory section should be construed or require a ballot for a political party for use in a primary election, including a presidential primary election, to be mailed to an unaffiliated elector voting in such primary election.
Section 5 requires the general assembly to appropriate moneys from the general fund to cover the costs of the election incurred by the state arising from the presidential primary election. Sections 1 and 5 further require the state, by means of an appropriation from the general fund, to reimburse the counties for all of the actual direct costs they incur arising from the preparation and conduct of such election. By rule, the secretary of state is required to determine the type of actual costs for which the counties are entitled to reimbursement under the bill.