About the Elections Division
The Office of the Secretary of State administers all statewide elections for both candidates and issues. Candidates for the six constitutional state offices, U.S. Congress, the General Assembly, and circuit judges not covered by the non-partisan court plan, file for election with the Secretary of State. Statewide ballots for primary, general and certain special elections are also prepared by the Secretary of State, and certified copies of those ballots are sent to local election officials. The Secretary of State also certifies statewide ballot measures that are proposed by the General Assembly or through the initiative petition process. The full texts of ballot issues are published in the newspapers around the state and printed for display at polling places. It is also the responsibility of the office to canvas, certify, and publish election results.
Initiative petitions are also handled by the office, including the oversight of signature verification. Before an initiative petition can be circulated, groups must first have the form of the petition and a summary statement approved by the Secretary of State and Attorney General. A fiscal impact statement is added by the State Auditor. For an initiative changing state law to be placed on the ballot, signatures must be obtained from registered voters equal to five percent of the total votes cast in the last gubernatorial election in six of Missouri's nine congressional districts. For an initiative changing the state constitution to be placed on the ballot, signatures are needed from registered voters equal to eight percent of the votes cast in the last gubernatorial election in six of the state's nine congressional districts. The elections division also oversees the collection of signatures for new political parties and the nomination of independent candidates for offices that file with the Secretary of State.
Besides assisting the 116 local election authorities interpret and administer state election laws; the Secretary of State promulgates rules governing elections. The Secretary of State is required to publish the Missouri election laws for use by county clerks and election boards. Additionally, the office produces various election materials including instructions for poll workers, calendars of annual election deadlines, a web site, training videos, and a manual for election authorities. The office cooperates with other officials, schools, and civic organizations to provide materials to support voter registration, responsibility and education. A high priority of the Secretary of State is to work with local election officials, the media and other groups to increase voter participation.
The Secretary of State is responsible for maintaining a centralized voter registration database for use by the local election authorities in Missouri. This database helps to improve the ability of local election officials to manage voter registration records and allows for cross checking for duplicate registrations anywhere in the state.