In the coming months, candidates will be required to start circulating nomination papers and petitions so that their name appears on the ballot for the 2022 midterm election.
Nomination paper and petition filing is not a process that should be taken lightly. In fact, we often advise our clients that it’s the single most important process of a campaign – Because without doing it properly, a candidate’s name, regardless of years in the position or the quality of a campaign, won’t be on the ballot.
Here are our tips for navigating the process with ease.
Know Whether Nomination Papers and Petitions Are Required
In most states nomination papers or petitions are required for a candidate to be on the ballot, but not in all cases. Know whether there is a requirement to file in your home state.
Know the District
It seems obvious enough, but know the parameters of the district you are running in. With redistricting having just taken place and new lines having been drawn, know the communities you now need to target. Be aware that some communities may be divided. If papers or petitions are signed by residents who live outside of the district you’re running in, the signature will be invalid and your team will have wasted their time and the person’s signing.
Follow the Guidelines
The state’s elections authority establishes the rules for circulating nomination papers and petitions. Make sure those rules are followed precisely and that the document you circulate contains all of the information that is required. Missing a piece of required information, or inaccurate information (misspelling of a name, inaccurate address, wrong district number, etc.) may be grounds to have your papers disqualified. Be thorough!
Once you’ve read through the requirements of what must be contained on the paper or petition, put the document together and submit a copy of it to your state’s elections authority for their review. They will not be unable to confirm the accuracy of the candidate’s information as mentioned previously, but they will be able to tell you if any information is missing.
Once the information on your papers is confirmed and details you’ve added have been reviewed, make copies and give only those out to your team to take into the field.
Put Trusted People In Charge
It’s nice to have an army of volunteers to be able to deploy on behalf of our campaign, but the nomination paper and petition circulation process should be executed by people you can trust to know what they are doing. Again, the circulation process is very precise, so the information collected by electors must be exact. In our experience, if not all of the information required of the elector is collected, the signature may be invalidated. Your team should know exactly what information is needed – for example, a printed name, signature, full address and date are common requirements – and they should make sure all of the information is in order before the elector returns the paper to the circulator.
Collect More Than Required
Assuming there is a minimum number of signatures required to file, make sure your campaign submits well in excess of that which is necessary. Upon review, it’s likely that some of the signatures will be struck, and you don’t want to be in a position where you don’t have enough after they have been.
Review Before Submitting
Before you submit your nomination papers or petitions to your state’s election authority, comb through the signatures you and your team have collected. Make sure all of the details required of electors is in place and that it is accurate. If not, strike it. Knowing the number of signatures you believe you have before submitting them will help make sure you have what you need before formally submitting everything.
Follow these steps and you’ll find the nomination paper and petition filing process does not need to be as anxiety-inducing as you thought.If you are in need of further campaign advice, reach out to our team today!