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Introduction

This information is for individuals interested in running for elected office.

Note: Please be advised that the deadline for filing a Declaration of Intent by a candidate nominated by a non-principal political party or an unaffiliated candidate seeking nomination by petition is August 1, 2016, at 5:00 p.m. Previously, the State Board had interpreted §§ 5-703(c)(3) and 5-703.1(c)(3) of the Election Law Article, Md. Code Ann., to require filing of a Declaration of Intent by February 3, 2016. However, to comply with controlling federal court precedent, these statutes must be interpreted to establish a filing deadline of August 1, 2016. August 1 is also deadline for these candidates to file a certificate of candidacy in person at the appropriate election board.

Democrat

Deadline: Wednesday, February 3, 2016 by 9:00pm to file the following required documents.

Certificate of Candidacy

A Certificate of Candidacy designating the individual as a candidate to appear on the Primary ballot for an elective office must be filed in person at the appropriate election office.

Statement of Organization

At the time of filing the Certificate of Candidacy, a candidate for State or local office is also required to have established an authorized candidate campaign committee. Download the Statement of Organization.

Financial Disclosure Form

A Financial Disclosure Form is required for all State and local candidates (a PDF is available for local candidates that describes the materials needed for filing). The Financial Disclosure Form is to be filed with the controlling agency; however, it is the policy of the election boards to accept the form when a candidate files for office. The form covers the previous calendar year (not the current year in which the candidate files). It is important to note that a candidate for a state office and various county offices are required to have the financial disclosure form notarized. If the form is not notarized, it will be deemed not filed and the candidate will not appear on the ballot. If filing for a judicial office, the candidate must file an original and one copy, otherwise it also will be deemed not filed. A candidate may file a receipt as proof if the candidate previously filed a financial disclosure form for the calendar year required for the candidacy. For additional information about filing the financial disclosure, please contact the appropriate controlling agency.

Filing Fee

Filing fees depend upon the office sought. The fee must be paid either by check, money order or cash. It is permissible for a state or local candidate’s campaign finance entity to pay the fee.

Republican

Deadline: Wednesday, February 3, 2016 by 9:00pm to file the following required documents.

Certificate of Candidacy

A Certificate of Candidacy designating the individual as a candidate to appear on the Primary ballot for an elective office must be filed in person at the appropriate election office.

Statement of Organization

At the time of filing the Certificate of Candidacy, a candidate for State or local office is also required to have established an authorized candidate campaign committee. Download the Statement of Organization.

Financial Disclosure Form

A Financial Disclosure Form is required for all State and local candidates (a PDF is available for local candidates that describes the materials needed for filing). The Financial Disclosure Form is to be filed with the controlling agency; however, it is the policy of the election boards to accept the form when a candidate files for office. The form covers the previous calendar year (not the current year in which the candidate files). It is important to note that a candidate for a state office and various county offices are required to have the financial disclosure form notarized. If the form is not notarized, it will be deemed not filed and the candidate will not appear on the ballot. If filing for a judicial office, the candidate must file an original and one copy, otherwise it also will be deemed not filed. A candidate may file a receipt as proof if the candidate previously filed a financial disclosure form for the calendar year required for the candidacy. For additional information about filing the financial disclosure, please contact the appropriate controlling agency.

Filing Fee

Filing fees depend upon the office sought. The fee must be paid either by check, money order or cash. It is permissible for a state or local candidate’s campaign finance entity to pay the fee.

Non Principal Political Party Candidates

(Only Green and Libertarian)

In order for a non-principal political party candidate to be placed on the General Election ballot on November 8, 2016, there are two major filing deadlines that must be met.

Declaration of Intent

A Declaration of Intent designating the individual as a candidate seeking the nomination of the political party to an elective office must be filed in person at the appropriate election office. This action alone does not qualify a candidate for the General Election ballot.

Statement of Organization

At the time of filing the Certificate of Candidacy, a candidate for State or local office is also required to have established an authorized candidate campaign committee. This must be established prior to conducting any campaign finance activity. Download the Statement of Organization.

Deadline #2 – Monday, August 1, 2016 by 5:00p.m.

The deadline to file the Financial Disclosure Statement, Certificate of Nomination, Certificate of Candidacy and filing fee are not required to be in person, however, they must be received by the election office by the deadline, and postmarks will not be accepted.

Certificate of Nomination

The appropriate election office must receive official documentation, executed pursuant to the party’s constitution and/or by-laws, indicating the candidate’s nomination to the office sought. This document may come directly from the political party to the appropriate election office. If the appropriate election office does not receive the Certificate of Nomination, the candidate does not qualify for the ballot.

Financial Disclosure Form

A Financial Disclosure Form is required for all State and local candidates. The Financial Disclosure Form is to be filed with the controlling agency; however, it is the policy of the election boards to accept the form when a candidate files for office. The form covers the previous calendar year (not the current year in which the candidate files). It is important to note that a candidate for a state office and various county offices are required to have the financial disclosure form notarized. If the form is not notarized, it will be deemed not filed and the candidate will not appear on the General Election ballot. If filing for a judicial office, the candidate must file an original and one copy, otherwise it also will be deemed not filed. A candidate may file a receipt as proof if the candidate previously filed a financial disclosure form for the calendar year required for the candidacy. For additional information about filing the financial disclosure, please contact the appropriate controlling agency.

Filing Fee

Filing fees depend upon the office sought. The fee must be paid either by check, money order or cash. It is permissible for a state or local candidate’s campaign finance entity to pay the fee. If filing by mail, it is not recommended to send cash.

After filing the required documents and payment of the fees, the Declaration of Intent automatically becomes the Certificate of Candidacy, making the candidate eligible to be placed on the General Election ballot.

Petition Candidates

Note: Please be advised that the signature requirement for an unaffiliated petition candidate seeking a statewide elective office is 10,000; not 1% of the eligible votes for that district. This does not effect any other elective office. All other petition candidate must submit a petition with signatures containing at least 1% of the eligible voters for the district in which the candidate seeks the nomination. The deadline for submitting the petition is August 1, 2016, at 5:00 p.m.

In order for a petition candidate to be placed on the General Election ballot on November 8, 2016, there are two major filing deadlines that must be met.

Declaration of Intent

A Declaration of Intent designating the individual as a candidate seeking nomination by petition to an elective office must be filed in person at the appropriate election office. This action alone does not qualify a candidate for the General Election ballot.

Statement of Organization

At the time of filing the Certificate of Candidacy, a candidate for State or local office is also required to have established an authorized candidate campaign committee. This must be established prior to conducting any campaign finance activity. Download the Statement of Organization.

Deadline #2 – Monday, August 1, 2016 by 5:00p.m.

The deadline to file the Financial Disclosure Statement, Petition, Certificate of Candidacy and filing fee are not required to be in person, however, they must be received by the election office by the deadline, and postmarks will not be accepted.

Petition

File the petition containing the required number of signatures (PDF) for the office that you are seeking.

Financial Disclosure Form

A Financial Disclosure Form is required for all State and local candidates. The Financial Disclosure Form is to be filed with the controlling agency; however, it is the policy of the election boards to accept the form when a candidate files for office. The form covers the previous calendar year (not the current year in which the candidate files). It is important to note that a candidate for a state office and various county offices are required to have the financial disclosure form notarized. If the form is not notarized, it will be deemed not filed and the candidate will not appear on the General Election ballot. If filing for a judicial office, the candidate must file an original and one copy, otherwise it also will be deemed not filed. A candidate may file a receipt as proof if the candidate previously filed a financial disclosure form for the calendar year required for the candidacy. For additional information about filing the financial disclosure, please contact the appropriate controlling agency.

Filing Fee

Filing fees depend upon the office sought. The fee must be paid either by check, money order or cash. It is permissible for a state or local candidate’s campaign finance entity to pay the fee. If filing by mail, it is not recommended to send cash.

After filing the required documents and payment of the fees, the Declaration of Intent automatically becomes the Certificate of Candidacy, making the candidate eligible to be placed on the General Election ballot.

Write-In Candidates

Write-in Candidate information (PDF)

1. General Information

  • Candidates must file a Certificate of Candidacy with the appropriate State or local election office depending on the office sought.
  • A Statement of Organization to form an authorized candidate campaign committee must accompany the Certificate of Candidacy (unless the candidate is already associated with a candidate committee or if running for federal office).
  • Candidates must file a financial disclosure statement in accordance with State or local law (if applicable for that office) prior to or at the time of filing the Certificate of Candidacy.
  • A filing fee is not required for a write-in candidate.
  • The candidate may file the Certificate of Candidacy by mail. All required documents should be mailed together. It is important to note, the Certificate of Candidacy and the Financial Disclosure Statement must be notarized for State office.

Recommendation: It is recommended that a write-in candidate file as early as possible in order to appear on various candidate lists including the write-in candidate list on the specimen ballots. Additionally, early filing enables the candidate the option to designate challengers and watcher at the polling place.

The Certificate of Candidacy may be filed in person. If filed in person, the candidate must provide identification (preferably a driver's license or official State ID).

2. Deadline – Thursday, October 20, 2016 by 5:00p.m.

  • Write-in candidates must file no later than the 7th day before the start of early voting for the General Election. If mailed, the appropriate election office must receive the Certificate of Candidacy and all requisite documents by the deadline. Timely postmarked or faxed copies will not be accepted. Original signatures are required. In no case will a filing be accepted later than 5:00 P.M. on the Wednesday before the 7th day before the start of early voting for the General Election.
  • However, if the write-in candidate or the authorized candidate campaign committee makes expenditures that are equal to or greater than $51 in the promotion of the candidate, then the Certificate of Candidacy must be file no later than 7 days after the $51 threshold is exceeded.

3. Campaign Finance Entity - Required

  • Each write-in candidate must file a Statement of Organization to form an authorized candidate campaign committee except for federal Write-in candidates.
  • The authorized candidate campaign committee must be formed regardless of whether the candidate plans to have any financial activity. The candidate committee is required to file campaign finance reports periodically during the election year.
  • Candidates who do not plan to have campaign finance activity greater than $1,000 may file an Affidavit of Limited Contributions and Expenditures in lieu of a detailed campaign finance report. The Affidavit may be Efiled on this site. The Affidavit must be filed for every reporting period. Only when the Affidavit is marked final will the filing obligations end. It is the personal responsibility and liability of the Chairman and Treasurer of the committee to file the reports or Affidavit. The maximum late fee penalty is $250 per report.
  • Prior to the campaign finance report filing deadline, the officers of the committee and the candidate will receive a pre-report notice (Blue postcard) in the mail. If you believe the notice was sent in error, please contact SBE immediately, otherwise late fees will accrue.

4. Voting

In a general election, a voter can cast a write-in vote for a candidate whose name does not appear on the ballot.

To cast a write-in vote on a paper ballot:

  • Use a black pen and:
    • Fill in the oval to the left of the Write-in line for the contest in which you wish to cast a write-in vote.
    • Write the candidate’s first and last name on the write-in line next to the filled-in oval.
  • Any abbreviation, misspelling, or minor variation in the form of the name of a candidate shall be disregarded in determining the validity of the write-in vote as long as the intended candidate can be determined. Writing the last name only will constitute a valid vote, unless there is more than one candidate with the same last name.
  • Writing in the name of the candidate for President or Vice President will be counted as a vote for the joint office.
  • Candidates may give out cards containing a diagram and instructions, including how to spell the candidate's name. Applying stickers or labels to the ballot with the write-in candidate's name is not permitted.
  • If you write in a candidate’s name and change your mind, you will need a new ballot. If you are voting during early voting or on election day, ask an election judge for a new ballot. If you have an absentee ballot, contact your local board of elections and ask for a new ballot.
  • Failure to fill in the oval for a write-in will not invalidate the vote for that candidate.

To cast a write-in vote on the audio ballot:

  • Follow the instructions and use the key pad to select “Write-in.”
  • Use the keypad to enter, change and confirm each letter as you enter a write-in candidate’s name.
  • After entering a write-in candidate’s name, follow the instructions to continue voting.
  • Follow the instructions to change a write-in vote before casting your ballot.

Canvassing Write-in Votes

  • Each local board of elections will canvass the write-in votes for every filed write-in candidate.
  • Initially, each local board of elections will report all write-in votes as one total. During the 10-day canvassing period, each local board of elections will manually review all write-in votes and tally write-in votes for each filed write-in candidate.
  • Before a local board of elections certifies election results, the number of write-in votes cast for each write-in candidate will be reported individually.

Forms

All forms mentioned on this page are available on our candidacy form page.