Running for Office

Candidates, Generally:

Steps to Run for Office

  1. Determine Position and Requirements: Determine the position in which you are interested and its filing requirements; then, obtain the necessary documents from your local or county clerk, or the State Bureau of Elections.
    • All candidates must complete an Affidavit of Identity.
    • Candidates for any office may submit an appropriate petition with the correct number of signatures to appear on the ballot. See How to Obtain a Nominating Signature Petition for specific information. Note that Precinct Delegates are not required to submit petitions.
    • Candidates for certain positions may file a $100 fee in lieu of petitions. See How to Obtain a Nominating Signature Petition for information on which positions qualify for this option.
  2. File With Official: File the Affidavit of Identity along with your petitions or fee with the appropriate filing official by the filing deadline.
    • The Candidate Filing Locations chart outlines the correct filing official for each candidate.
    • Deadlines for each election can be found at the Michigan Secretary of State’s Website or by contacting your local or county clerk. Note that filing in advance of the deadline can be advantageous as it allows time for the filing official to contact you should you not have the minimum number of valid signatures on your petitions. Additional filings may then be made until the filing deadline.
  3. Campaign Finance Filing: File campaign finance materials with the appropriate filing official.
    • For campaign finance purposes, you officially become a candidate if you:
      • File an Affidavit of Identity, fee, or petition
      • Spend or receive any funds to further your nomination or election to office, or give someone else permission to do so on your behalf
      • Are nominated at a party convention or caucus
    • Once you become a candidate, you have 10 calendar days to form a Candidate Committee. An additional 10 calendar days are allowed to file this information with your campaign finance filing official.
    • See the Candidate Filing Locations chart to determine your campaign finance filing official. Note that it may not be the same filing official with whom you filed your Affidavit of Identity.
    • All candidates must file campaign finance materials and create a Candidate Committee except for the following:
      • Precinct Delegate candidates do not file any campaign finance materials
      • School Board candidates in a school district with a pupil enrollment of less than 2,400 do not need to file campaign finance materials unless they spend or receive in excess of $1,000
  4. Write-In Filing: Should you choose to run as a write-in candidate, see Write-In Candidates for more details. The same campaign finance filing requirements apply to write-in candidates as all other candidates.

Additional Information

If you have any questions regarding running for office, please contact the Elections Division at 734-222-6730.