Two former Massachusetts governors will top the state's presidential primary ballots on March 3, 2020.
The ballot order was established Friday after Secretary of State William Galvin drew names at random, selecting them from a bronze basket. Former Govs. William Weld and Deval Patrick, the first running a longshot Republican campaign and the other a late entry to the Democratic field, managed to secure prime placement on their home state's ballot.
There will be three candidates on the Republican ballot and 15 Democrats on that party's ballot. Galvin said placement at the top of the list doesn't necessarily give a candidate an advantage over their rivals.
"Certainly not for president. Maybe for some lower office where there's multiple votes to some value, I don't know," Galvin said. "Easy to find, I suppose, and if you have 15 candidates that's always good. I think people take their vote very seriously and they will go into it with a choice and they'll find the choice even if it's a long list of candidates. Obviously on a shorter list of candidates it's probably of less significance."
The Massachusetts Republican Party only submitted incumbent President Donald Trump's name for the primary ballot in Massachusetts. A spokesperson for Galvin told the News Service on Dec. 10 that Galvin would put Weld's name on the ballot, exercising his right under state law to put a candidate on if they are "generally advocated or recognized in national news media throughout the United States."
"Elections are about voters. They're not about candidates or parties," Galvin said at Friday's event. "So, giving the voters the choice that we think is the most broad-based and inclusional is important."
Trump will appear third on the GOP ballot, behind Weld and the only other candidate, Joe Walsh.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren will appear third on the Democratic ballot, which will feature the following 15 candidates, in order:
-- Deval Patrick
-- Amy Klobuchar
-- Elizabeth Warren
-- Michael Bennet
-- Michael R. Bloomberg
-- Tulsi Gabbard
-- Cory Booker
-- Julian Castro
-- Tom Steyer
-- Bernie Sanders
-- Joseph R. Biden
-- John K. Delaney
-- Andrew Yang
-- Pete Buttigieg
-- Marianne Williamson
Dario Hunter and Arvin Vohra will lead the ballots for the Green-Rainbow Party and Libertarian Party, respectively.
Galvin identified key upcoming dates: the Jan. 1 start of automatic voter registration at MassHealth and the Registry of Motor Vehicles, making ballots available to military and overseas voters beginning Jan. 18; the Feb. 12 voter registration deadline; and the start of a five-day early voting period on Feb. 24.
Predicting a "large turnout" in Massachusetts, Galvin noted the primary here will follow the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses, the Feb. 11 New Hampshire presidential primary, a Nevada caucus and the South Carolina Democratic primary on Saturday, Feb. 29.
"All of this leads I think to a lot of focus on this national election process and I do think that's going to help our turnout here in Massachusetts," he said.
If candidates withdraw from the race before the ballots are printed, their names will be removed from the ballot, but there will not be a new drawing to redetermine ballot order, Galvin said.
"We will be working very hard over the next several weeks to get these ballots together," Galvin said.