The standard petition form, or nominating petition, enables a non-major party candidate or an independent candidate to get onto the ballot. The standard nominating petition form is typically available at the local office of elections or voter registration.
The required number of signatures to render a nominating petition valid varies between states. In Alaska, for instance, the Division of Elections Office prescribes specific numbers of required signatures by the type of election, the corresponding districts and the year. There are also different requirements and forms for no-party candidates.
Alaska does not furnish a downloadable nominating petition form for candidates who represent a party but are not already on the ballot. However, the standard nominating petition form is not difficult to compose, and versions are available on the websites of many other state elections offices.
Although the specifics of each petition differ according to the petitioner's intentions, the general language of petitions and of the nominating petition is consistent across disciplines.
Most petitions begin with, "We the undersigned," and then spell out the issue at the heart of the petition and state the position of the undersigned. The standard nominating petition begins with the exact same introductory phrase and identifies the candidate, the office and the undersigned's request that the governing body place the candidate's name onto the ballot.
This standard practice and related petition form is pertinent for school board elections as well; for example, the New Jersey School Boards require all candidates seeking election to submit nominating petitions.