Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Missouri Tosses 16 Candidates off Ballot Those Bumped Missed Disclosure Deadline

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Missouri Tosses 16 Candidates off Ballot Those Bumped Missed Disclosure Deadline

Article excerpt

State election officials have removed the names of 16 candidates from Missouri's Aug. 2 primary ballot because the candidates failed to file personal financial disclosure reports with the Ethics Commission.

The action marks the first time that candidates have been stricken from the ballot under a revised ethics and disclosure law that went into effect last year. On Monday, county clerks and election authorities in some areas reopened filings for public office because removing the names left some political parties without a candidate in the primary.

Esther J. Haywood, who had been a candidate for the Democratic nomination for 71st District state representative, was shocked to learn she was among those knocked off.

"They took it upon their own to throw people off the ballot," said Haywood, who lives in Bellerive Acres. "Why would they do that without even discussing this with the candidate? I do not think this is fair. I was under the impression that I had filed everything I was supposed to."

Another candidate who was removed - Libertarian Mike McBride of St. Louis - says he sent in his filled-out form last week. It was returned on Saturday with a yellow sticker declaring it undeliverable.

McBride says Ethics officials conceded Monday that they've had some problems getting their mail since they moved into their new quarters several months ago.

McBride, a candidate for state representative in the 66th District, said he'd challenge the commission's decision if they didn't put him back on the ballot. "I kept the envelope showing that we'd mailed it," said McBride, 25, an engineer making his first bid for public office.

Under the law, candidates for state offices must file personal financial disclosure reports by May 13. The reports identify a candidate's source of income, assets and relationships to others holding government jobs. If a candidate fails to file the report by May 23, the state Ethics Commission must inform the secretary of state, who must remove the nonfiler's name from the ballot.

Ethics Commission administrative secretary Marion Sinnett said there was a lot of confusion this year among candidates about what reports were required when. He said that when candidates sign up to run for office they get a packet of information that explains the disclosure requirements and deadlines.

This year, the deadlines for two reports came about the same time: April 20 for a newly required campaign finance disclosure report and May 23 for the personal finance disclosure reports.

"A lot of people didn't understand the difference between the two reports," Sinnett said.

Asked what reaction he expected from those removed from the ballot, Sinnett said: "I expect them to be totally irate. I would not be surprised if there were lawsuits testing the statute."

As it was, the commission was lenient in identifying nonfilers. …

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