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The Elections Division of the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office has prepared “How to Run for President in Massachusetts.” The process differs from state to state, and Secretary Galvin has laid out the process in Massachusetts.

Non-party candidates can have their names placed on the ballot if they have met certain criteria.

“A non-party candidate seeking to have his or her name placed on the ballot must obtain at least 10,000 certified signatures on nomination papers. These papers must include the names of the eleven elector candidates (who must be registered voters in Massachusetts) for each presidential and vice-presidential ticket.” (M.G.L. c 53, § 6).

The Secretary maintains a list of legal political designations.  The term “political designation” is defined in M.G.L. c. 50, § 1. Many of the designation names conclude with the word “party.” If a candidate from a party with a designation name wants to run for president, they need to follow the rules for a non-party candidate. Non-party candidates may express a political designation in no more than three words, which will appear next to the candidate’s name on the ballot. Political designations may contain any three words, as long as those words do not include the name of an official political party. The words do  not necessarily need to denote an existing political designation. If a political designation is to be used, in must be included in the gray area provided on every nomination paper that is circulated. (M.G.L. c. 53, § 8).

“Write-in candidates may also run, but only if their names and their slate of elector candidates have been filed with the Secretary of the Commonwealth by the sixtieth day prior to the State Election.” (M.G.L. c.54, § 78A).

Information about how electors are chosen for the Electoral College after the general election in November is also included on the web page, “How to Run for President in Massachusetts” . We will hear more about this later.

For more information, see “Massachusetts Law about Elections and Voting.” Massachusetts Election Administration, Campaign Finance and Lobbying Law, 4th ed. (2016), is another good source of information about Massachusetts Election Law.

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