Presidential Primary Ballot Placement in Maryland

In Maryland, there are two ways that a U.S. Presidential candidate may have his or her name placed on the primary election ballot. The first method is a determination by the Secretary of State as provided by Election Law Article, §8-502 of the Annotated Code of Maryland. It specifically provides that "[t]he Secretary of State shall certify the name of a presidential candidate on the ballot when the Secretary has determined, in the Secretary's sole discretion and consistent with party rules, that the candidate's candidacy is generally advocated or recognized in the news media throughout the United States or in Maryland.


The second method for a U.S. Presidential candidate to be placed on the primary election ballot is through the petition process. This is for Presidential candidates who have not obtained a sufficient level of media recognition to be selected by the Secretary of State. The law states in Election Law Article, §8-502(b)(2) and (d)(1) that a candidate for the office of President shall submit to the State Board of Elections a petition containing the signatures of not less than 400 registered voters from each congressional district. An individual seeking to be placed on the primary election ballot by the petition process should review the filing procedures and forms available on the State Board of Elections’ website ( under "Petition").

Other individuals who believe they should be added to the primary election ballot based on media recognition should provide the Secretary of State's Office sufficient documentation from multiple print and/or broadcast media outlets about their candidacy for U.S. President.

The Secretary of State has reviewed his options provided by Maryland Election Law Article, §8-502 of the Annotated Code of Maryland and the Secretary of State has determined that only those individuals who have appeared in nationally televised debates prior to January 27th, 2016 will have his or her name placed on the primary election ballot for the 2016 Presidential Primary.

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