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General Laws

Section 34. At the top of each ballot shall be printed the words “Official ballot of the (here shall follow the party name)”. There shall also be printed on the ballot the number of the precinct and ward or the name of the town for which the ballot is prepared, the date of the primary and for state primaries a facsimile of the signature of the state secretary and for city or town primaries a facsimile of the signature of the city or town clerk. Names of candidates for each elective office shall be arranged alphabetically according to their surnames except as otherwise provided.

Names of candidates for nomination for all offices to be voted for at a state primary of which they are the elected incumbents or the incumbents chosen by the senate and house of representatives, or appointed by the governor, or appointed by the justices of the supreme judicial or superior court, or appointed by the county commissioners, or appointed by the county commissioners and the clerk of the courts for a county, shall be placed first in alphabetical order and names of other candidates shall follow in like order.

Names of candidates for state committee who are either elected or appointed incumbents shall be placed first in alphabetical order, and names of other candidates for said office shall follow in like order.

Names of candidates for ward and town committees shall be arranged in groups in such order as may be determined by lot, under the direction of the state secretary, who shall notify each state committee and give a representative of each such committee an opportunity to be present. When necessary, groups may be printed on the ballot in two or more columns; provided, however, that only one heading designating the number of members to be elected to such committee shall be printed.

Against the name of a candidate for an elective office, for a ward or town committee, or for state committee, shall be printed the street and number, if any, of his residence.

Against the name of a candidate for an elective office shall be printed the statement contained in the nomination paper placing him in nomination, except where vacancies caused by death, withdrawal or physical disability are filled.

Except where vacancies caused by death, withdrawal or physical disability are filled, no names shall be printed on a ballot other than those presented on nomination papers. On ballots at city and town primaries, and preliminary elections except where city charters provide otherwise, names of candidates for offices of which they are the elected incumbents, or the incumbents chosen by vote of the board of aldermen or city council in a city, or the incumbents chosen by joint convention of the board of aldermen or city council and school committee, shall be placed first in alphabetical order according to their surnames, to be followed by the names of all other candidates for such offices in alphabetical order. A candidate for nomination to the same office in a precinct, ward or district which contains any portion of the territory which he was elected to represent at the last preceding municipal or state election for that office shall be considered an elected incumbent within the meaning of this section. Against the name of each such candidate there shall be printed, if the candidate requests, a statement in not more than eight words setting forth the public offices which he holds or has held. The statement shall clearly indicate that he is a former incumbent thereof if such is the case and, if he is an elected incumbent of an office for which he seeks renomination, that he is a candidate for such renomination; and if he is a veteran, as defined in section one of chapter thirty-one, the word “veteran” may be included in the eight word statement. Immediately following the names of candidates on ballots at city and town primaries, and preliminary elections except where city charters provide otherwise, blank spaces equal to the number of persons to be chosen shall be provided for the insertion of other names. Immediately following the names of candidates on ballots at state and presidential primaries, where there are fewer names than there are persons to be chosen, blank spaces shall be provided, equal in number to the deficiency, for the insertion of other names.

The number of persons to be voted for the different offices shall be stated on the ballot.

The form of ballots and the arrangement of printed matter thereon shall be in general the same as that of the official state ballots, except as otherwise provided in this chapter.

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