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A word about the law relating to Presidential Primaries in Massachusetts might be in order.

Registered Massachusetts voters who are members of the Democratic, Republican and Green-Rainbow parties will have the opportunity to vote in the Presidential Primary to be held on Super Tuesday, March 1, 2016. The list of candidates is available on the website of the Secretary of the Commonwealth.

Voter information about elections, including the Presidential Primary, is available from the Elections Division of the Secretary’s office.

State law dictates the date of the primary. Mass. General Law, Chapter 53 § 28, says “Presidential primaries shall be held on the first Tuesday in March in any year in which presidential electors are to be elected.”

Nomination of presidential candidates takes place at the party conventions. Party Rules govern the nominating process. Both the Democratic Charter and Bylaws and the Rules of the Republican Party make reference to state law and a process of binding delegates at the national convention to votes in the Presidential Primaries of their respective states.

Mass. General Law, Chapter 53 § 70I addresses voting for presidential candidates at the National Conventions. It says “If there is a roll call vote for president at the national convention of a political party, all delegates and alternate delegates whose selection is subject by party rule to approval of a presidential candidate shall vote on the first such roll call for that presidential candidate unless released by such candidate.

Rule 13 of the 2016 Delegate Selection Rules for the Democratic National Convention says “States shall allocate district-level delegates and alternates in proportion to the percentage of the primary or caucus vote won in that district by each preference, except that preferences falling below a fifteen percent (15%) threshold shall not be awarded any delegates.”

Rule 16 of the Rules of the Republican Party says “Any statewide presidential preference vote that permits a choice among candidates for the Republican nomination for the President of the United States in a primary, caucuses, or a state convention must be used to allocate and bind the state’s delegation to the national convention in either a proportional or winner-take-all manner, except for delegates and alternate delegates who appear on a ballot in a statewide election and are elected directly by primary voters.”

For more information, see “Massachusetts Law about Elections and Voting.”


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