Q:

How do candidates get on an election ballot?

A:

Quick Answer

On top of satisfying age and residency requirements, candidates make their way onto ballots by collecting signatures on a petition for their candidacies, meeting required deadlines, or in some cases, meeting a minimum campaign contribution threshold. Specifics for state government offices may vary from state to state.

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Full Answer

For example, candidates from any district wishing to run for the Senate, House of Representatives, or the presidency must raise at least $5,000 in donations to be seen as legitimate. Candidates then have to file documents, such as a Statement of Candidacy followed by a Statement of Organization within 10 days, that provide details about their campaign committees along with their inflows and outflows of funds. Candidates then file these documents with the Federal Election Commission directly. For other state and local offices, the Secretary of State handles candidate filings.

In Texas, as is the case in many other states, candidates get initial approval to be on the ballot through either a filing fee or a nominating petition. Prospective state representatives, district attorneys, appellate court judges, and many other state and county officials need to obtain 500 signatures to waive the fee. For one of the state's Senate seats or the presidency, the signature requirement is 5000.

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