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  • PART I ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT
  • TITLE VIII ELECTIONS
  • CHAPTER 53 NOMINATIONS, QUESTIONS TO BE SUBMITTED TO THE VOTERS, PRIMARIES AND CAUCUSES
  • Section 7 Nomination papers; signatures; addresses; submission; deadlines; correction procedures; certification and checking; special elections

Section 7. Every voter signing a nomination paper shall sign in person as registered or substantially as registered, and shall state the address where he or she is currently registered, but any voter who is prevented by physical disability from writing may authorize some person to write his or her name and residence in his or her presence.

Every nomination paper of a candidate for a city or town office shall be submitted to the registrars of the city or town where the signers appear to be voters on or before five o’clock post meridian of the fourteenth day preceding the day on which it must be filed with the city or town clerk. Every nomination paper of a candidate for a state office shall be submitted to the registrars of the city or town where the signers appear to be voters on or before five o’clock post meridian of the twenty-eighth day preceding the day on which it must be filed with the state secretary; and certification of nomination papers of candidates for state office shall be completed no later than the seventh day before the final day for filing said papers with the state secretary.

The registrars shall inform the candidate submitting such papers if the designation of the district only in which he seeks office is incorrect, and shall give said candidate the opportunity to insert the correct designation on such papers before the signatures are certified. The registrars shall, if the candidate so desires, allow a change of district on the nomination papers, in the presence of the candidate whose name appears on the nomination papers, and the registrar and the candidate shall both initial the change of district so made and further shall in writing explain the change of district causing three copies to be made, one of each for the registrar and candidate and one to be attached to the nomination papers. If the correct district designation is not so inserted, the nomination papers shall not be approved. In no case may a correction be made to change the office for which such candidate is nominated.

Every initiative, referendum or other ballot question petition paper, except an application for a public policy question under sections nineteen to twenty-two, inclusive, shall be submitted to the registrars of the city or town where the signers appear to be voters on or before five o’clock post meridian of the fourteenth day preceding the day on which it must be filed with the state secretary; and certification of such papers shall be completed no later than the second day before the final day for filing said papers with the state secretary. In the case of special elections, every nomination paper shall be submitted to the registrars of the city or town where the signers appear to be voters on or before five o’clock post meridian in the afternoon of the seventh day preceding the day on which it must be filed with the state secretary; and certification of nomination papers of candidates shall be completed no later than the twenty-four hours before the final hour for filing said papers with the state secretary, except that, for special elections for senator or representative in congress, every nomination paper shall be submitted to the registrars of the city or town where the signers appear to be voters at or before 5:00 p.m. of the fourteenth day preceding the day on which it must be filed with the state secretary, and certification of nomination papers of candidates shall be completed no later than the 72 weekday hours before the final hour for filing those papers with the state secretary.

Each nomination paper shall be marked with the date and time it was submitted and such papers shall be certified in order of submission. In each case the registrars shall check each name to be certified by them on the nomination paper and shall forthwith certify thereon the number of signatures so checked which are names of voters both in the city or town and in the district for which the nomination is made, and only names so checked shall be deemed to be names of qualified voters for the purposes of nomination. The registrars shall place next to each name not checked symbols designated by the state secretary indicating the reason that name was disqualified. The registrars shall certify a number of names that are required to make a nomination, increased by two fifths thereof, if they are submitted in a timely manner for a certification.

The state secretary need not receive nomination papers for a candidate after receiving such papers containing a sufficient number of certified names to make a nomination, increased by two fifths thereof.

For the purposes of this section a registered voter who in signing his name to a nomination paper inserts a middle name or initial in, or omits a middle name or initial from, his name as registered shall be deemed to have signed his name substantially as registered. If the registrars can reasonably determine from the form of the signature the identity of the duly registered voter, the name shall be deemed to have been signed substantially as registered. The provisions of this section shall apply in all cases where any statute, special act, or home rule charter requires the certification of the signature of a voter by boards of registrars of voters. Signatures shall not be certified on nomination papers or initiative and referendum petitions from more than one city or town per sheet.

The state secretary shall promulgate regulations designed to achieve and maintain accuracy, uniformity, and security from forgery and fraud in the procedures for certifying nomination papers and petitions for ballot questions and names thereon pursuant to this section, and to ensure proper delivery of certified nomination papers and petitions by registrars to the person or organization who submitted such papers or petitions.