By Greg Tlapek
Be a county committee person for the Libertarian Party. It's the kind of job everyone should want--you don't have to work and you get a title. (Sorry, no pay).
There are some advantages to being a county committee person.
- A county committee person is automatically a voting member of the Missouri Libertarian Party. Normally you have to contribute at least $50 a year to be a voting member.
- You may choose to participate in the selection of the Libertarian Party candidate in certain special elections. Special elections are used to fill vacancies due to death or resignation.
File at the County Clerk's office on even numbered years. Filing starts the last Tuesday in February, and runs through the last Tuesday in March. Your name will appear in the Missouri Blue Book. To find the address and phone number for your County Clerk see the List of County Clerks/Election Officials on the Missouri Secretary of State website.
That's really all there is to it, but if you're the type that likes a more serious treatment of the subject, here goes:
Township or Ward Committeemen and Committeewomen: In Missouri, political parties are organized by committees which form every two years (except St. Louis where it's only in presidential election years). Committees may not be the best way to organize parties, but it's the law. The state and the counties do need to know who has the right to make decisions for each party. Take, for example, special elections. When a politician dies in office, a special election is held. There is no primary election to narrow the list of candidates to one per party. "Established parties", like the Missouri Libertarian Party, have committees pick their candidates. Ballot symbols are another example. The state doesn't decide our ballot symbol--we do. The committee structure is set up to determine who speaks for the Party.
General Requirements: The following general qualifications that apply to candidates for the offices typically thought of as "elective" also apply to county committee people.
Residency Requirement: County committee people must have been registered to vote in the same ward or township for one year prior to the August primary election which is when committee people are "elected." There is no additional age requirement.
Filing: The filing period runs from the last Tuesday in February through the last Tuesday in March in even numbered years. Take your voter registration card (if you can find it) and driver's license to the County Clerk's office. Tell them you want to file to be a Libertarian committeeperson and they'll help you do the rest. You can also file for other elected office.
It is possible, though not probable, that more than one person will file to be a county committee person from your ward/township. The people of each ward/township are entitled to have one male and one female represent their political party on the county committee. If two people of the same sex file, the result is a contested race decided by people who choose Libertarian Party ballots in that ward/township in the August primary election. Otherwise, your name will not appear on the ballot and you will be automatically "elected".
Helpful Hints: Call first. Call the County Clerk/Board of Election Commissioners office and ask to speak to someone who can help you when you arrive at the office. Get their name. Make sure you are going to the right office, they'll be open, and they know a Libertarian is coming to file as a committee person (in many counties, it could throw them off--Libertarians don't show up every day--so give them a chance to prepare). In St. Louis City, St. Louis County, Jackson County and Clay County the "County Clerk's" office is called the "Board of Election Commissioners" and there is a fee to file.
For more information, give me a call at 1-573-225-7187. I will be glad to discuss any of your concerns or questions.
- Sections of the Revised Statutes of the State of Missouri which deal with "committees each established party shall maintain" begin at 115.603, RSMo.