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Candidate Filing FAQs

When Can I Take Out Papers to Run for Office?

The starting date for Candidate Filing varies depending on the contest and whether the candidate chooses to participate in certain steps of the process. Click here for a detailed election calendar which outlines key deadlines.

 


What Are the Deadlines for Filing for Office?

Check the election calendar on the Registrar of Voters' website for all deadlines.

 


What Are the General Qualifications to Run for Office?

The general qualifications for all candidates are:

  • Must be18 years old by election;
  • Must be a citizen of the state;
  • Must be a registered voter at the time nomination papers are issued, and, unless otherwise specifically provided, qualified to vote for the office;
  • Must be eligible to take the Oath of Office and be able to be bonded in the amounts provided for by statue; and
  • Must not have been convicted of designated crimes specified in the Constitution and laws of the State.

 


What Contests Will Be on the Ballot?

Refer to the "What's on the Ballot" section of the Registrar of Voters' website for this information.

 


Where Can I Obtain Information on the Candidate Filing Process?

You may find this information here or by calling or visiting the Registrar of Voters’ office, 1300 South Grand Avenue, Building C, Santa Ana, CA; 714-567-7600. A Candidate's Handbook is also available upon request.

 


Do I Need to Reside in the District to Run for Office?

Residency requirements are dependent upon the contest. For United States Representative, you do not need to reside in the district to be a candidate. For State Assembly, State Senate, County Board of Education, and County Central Committee, you need to reside in the district at the time Nomination Papers are issued. For County offices other than Board of Supervisors, you must reside in Orange County. For County Board of Supervisors, you must be registered in the district for at least 30 days preceding the deadline for filing nomination documents for the office. For Judge of the Superior Court, you do not need to reside in Orange County.

 


How Do I Find Out Who Else Has Filed to Run for My Contest?

There is a candidate log on our website which is updated daily, or you can call our office at 714-567-7600.

 


What Happens If the Incumbent Does Not File for Re-Election?

If the incumbent does not file for re-election but is eligible to file, the contest will be extended for five days after the filing period has closed for any candidate other than the incumbent.

 


What is a Declaration of Intention?

The Declaration of Intention is a written document that all Judicial candidates must sign and file stating his/her intention to become a candidate for the office of Judge of the Superior Court.

 


Is the Judicial Office Number Appearing on the Ballot the District That I Will Represent, If Elected?

No, the number is assigned for election purposes only and is based on the alphabetical listing of the incumbents.

 


Is There a Fee to File for Office?

For most offices, there is a Filing Fee that must be paid in order to obtain Nomination Papers.  There is no Filing Fee required for Member of the County Board of Education, Member of the County Central Committee, Member of the Green County Council, Board Member of a local school district, and Director of a special district.

 


When Do I Pay My Filing Fee?

The Filing Fee must be paid before Nomination Papers can be issued. However, if you collected enough signatures on the Signatures-In-Lieu of Filing Fee Petitions to satisfy the nomination signature requirement, then you will not need to circulate Nomination Papers; in this case, the Filing Fee must be paid before you complete your Declaration of Candidacy.

 


What Are Signatures In-Lieu of Filing Fee Petitions?

Signatures-in-Lieu of Filing Fee Petitions are papers for obtaining signatures to lower the cost of a candidate’s Filing Fee. The signatures may also be used towards nomination signature requirements.

 


Must I Circulate Signatures In-Lieu of Filing Fee Petitions?

No. This is an optional process. By not circulating and filing Signatures-in-Lieu of Filing Fee Petitions, you will need to pay your Filing Fee in full.

 


I Live in a Multi-County District. Where Do I Obtain My Signatures In-Lieu Petitions?

You may obtain these petitions from the election official’s office in your county of domicile or from any county within the district.

 


I Live in a Multi-County District. Where Do I File My Signatures In-Lieu Petitions?

You must file the petitions at the election official’s office in the county from which the signatures were obtained.

 


Who Can Circulate My Signature In-Lieu of Filing Fee Petitions or Nomination Papers?

Anyone 18 years or older. He/She does not need to be a registered voter, be affiliated with the same political party as the candidate or live in the district in which the candidate is to be voted on.

 


May I Circulate My Own Signature In-Lieu of Filing Fee Petitions or Nomination Papers?

Yes.

 


Do the Signers of Signatures In-Lieu of Filing Fee Petitions Need to be Affiliated With the Same Political Party As I am?

No. The signers do not need to be registered with the same political party as the candidate.

 


Do the Signers of Signatures In-Lieu of Filing Fee Petitions Need to Reside in the District in which I am Running for office?

Yes. The signers need to reside in the district in which you are running the Signatures In-Lieu of Filing Fee Petitions.

 


Can a Voter Sign More Than One Signatures In-Lieu of Filing Fee Petitions?

No, unless there is more than one position to be filled for the same contest.

 


May I File My Signatures In-Lieu of Filing Fee Petitions at Various Times Throughout the Filing Period?

Yes. It is not required to file all Signatures-in-Lieu of Filing Fee Petitions at the same time.

 


Do I Need to Collect Nomination Signatures as a Requirement to Run for Office?

For Primary Election contests, candidates do have a nomination signature requirement.  For General Election contests, there is not a nomination signature requirement.

  


I Live in a Multi-County District. Where Do I Obtain My Nomination Papers and Declaration of Candidacy?

You must obtain your Nomination Papers and Declaration of Candidacy from your county of domicile.

 


I Live in a Multi-County District, Where Do I File My Nomination Papers and Declaration of Candidacy?

You must file the Nomination Papers and Declaration of Candidacy at the election official’s office in the county from which the signatures were obtained.

 


Do the Signers of My Nomination Papers Need to be Affiliated With the same Political Party as I am?

No. The voter does not need to be registered with your political party. The only exception is that signers of Nomination Papers for County Central Committee Members must be affiliated with the same political party as the candidate.

 


Do the Signers of My Nomination Papers Need to Reside in the District in Which I am Running for Office?

Yes.

 


How Many Signatures are Needed for Nomination?

The number of signatures required is:

  • United States Senator: 65-100.
  • State Constitutional: 65-100.
  • Representative in Congress, State Senate and State Assembly: 40-60.
  • Judge of the Superior Court, County Board of Education, County Board of Supervisors and County Offices: 20-40. 
  • For the number of signatures required for member of a political party's County Central Committee and Member of the Green Party Council, refer to the Candidate's Handbook on the Registrar of Voters' website. 

 


May I Withdraw My Candidacy After I Complete the Filing Processes?

No. You may not withdraw your candidacy after you have completed the filing process for a Primary Election.

 


I Paid My Filing Fee, But Did Not Qualify to become a Candidate. Do I Get a Refund of My Filing Fee?

No. The Filing Fee is non-refundable.

 


What is a Ballot Designation?

A ballot designation is a description of no more than three words of your principal profession, vocation or occupation. A ballot designation may also be a current elected position title (no word limitation), the word “Incumbent”, or if appointed, the words “Appointed Incumbent”. You may access the Candidate Handbook to review the Ballot Designation Guidelines.

 


Where May I Find Ballot Designation Guidelines?

That information may be found in the Candidate’s Handbook, or by visiting or calling the Registrar of Voters’ office at 1300 South Grand Avenue, Building C, Santa Ana, CA 92705; 714-567-7600.

 


May I Change My Ballot Designation After I Have Filed My Declaration of Candidacy?

Yes, but only if Candidate Filing has not closed. A new Ballot Designation Worksheet must be completed.

 


May I Change My Ballot Designation After the Primary Election to a Different Designation in the General Election?

Yes. A written request must be submitted at least 98 days prior to the General Election. A new Ballot Designation Worksheet must be completed.

 


May I Challenge Someone's Ballot Designation? If So, How?

Yes. You may challenge someone’s Ballot Designation during the Nomination/Declaration of Candidacy period. To do so, you must submit a written statement outlining the reasons for the challenge to the Registrar of Voters. After Candidate Filing ends, there is a 10-day public review period in which you can challenge the Ballot Designation in Superior Court.

 


Can I Have a Candidate's Statement Printed in the County Voter Information Guide?

Yes. You may have a Candidate’s Statement printed in the Voter Information Guide if you are a candidate for United States Representative, State Assembly, State Senate, County Board of Supervisors, County offices, County Board of Education, Judge of the Superior Court, Board Member of a local school district, and Director of a special district. If you are running for United States Senator or a State Constitutional office, you will need to file your Candidate’s Statement with the Secretary of State’s office.

 


What is a Candidate's Statement?

A Candidate’s Statement is a recitation of the candidate’s own personal background and qualifications, and makes no reference to another candidate’s qualifications, character, or activities.

 


What is the Cost of a Candidate's Statement?

You will need to refer to the Candidate’s Handbook on the Registrar of Voters' website or contact the Registrar of Voters’ office at 1300 South Grand Avenue, Building C, Santa Ana, CA; 714-567-7600 for the estimated cost of your statement. The cost of Candidates’ Statements varies depending on the contest.

 


How Do You Estimate the Candidate's Statement Deposit?

The Candidate’s Statement deposit amount is based on estimates of the Voter Information Guide printing costs, translations costs, labor, and overhead. The deposit makes the following assumptions: (1) Two 200-word Candidates’ Statements for each race; (2) The same number of pages in the Voter Information Guide as a similar, previous election; and (3) The number of Voter Information Guides printed is equal to 125% of the number of registered voters, plus an additional few Voter Information Guides per language per precinct.

 


Why Do I Need to Pay a Deposit to Put a Candidate's Statement in the Voter Information Guide?

The Elections Code allows the Registrar of Voters to require each candidate filing a statement to pay in advance his/her estimated pro rata share as a condition of having his/her statement included in the Voter Information Guide. Since the candidate is paying based on an estimate, candidates will be billed for any additional amount of the actual cost or refunded if the deposit exceeds the actual cost within 30 days of election.

 


How are Candidate's Statements Actual Costs Calculated?

The intent of the Candidate’s Statement charges is to determine the actual cost of putting the Candidate’s Statement in the Voter Information Guide. The actual costs are calculated based on labor and overhead; the cost to translate into Chinese, Korean, Spanish and Vietnamese; and the cost to print the Candidate’s Statement in the Voter Information Guide.

 


What Will Affect the Actual Cost of the Candidate's Statement?

The biggest impact on the actual cost of the Candidate’s Statement is from the number and type of Candidates’ Statements actually submitted. Up to four 200-word Candidates’ Statements (or the equivalent) can share one page in the Voter Information Guide. One 200-word Candidate’s Statement will pay the cost of the entire page, whereas four 200-word Candidates’ Statements will each pay only 25% of the entire page.

 


May I Use Bolding, Underlining, Bullet Points and All Caps in My Candidate's Statement?

No. You may not include any of the elements in your statement. In addition, you may not make reference to another candidate’s qualifications, character, or activities.

 


If I Want to Run for an Office That is Within More Than One County, Do I Need to File My Candidate's Statement in Only One County for It to Appear in Each County's Voter Information Guide?

No. You will need to file the Candidate’s Statement with each county and pay the fee to each county in which you would like your statement to appear in the Voter Information Guide.

 


How Many Words may be Included in My Candidate's Statement?

The number of words varies depending on the contest:

  • United States Representative: 250 words;
  • State Senate and State Assembly: 250 words;
  • County and Judicial offices: 200 or 400 words;
  • Board Member of a local school district and Director of a special district:  200 words (May do a 400-word statement if the district authorizes).

 


May I Withdraw My Filed Candidate's Statement?

Yes. You must withdraw your Candidate’s Statement but it must be done no later than 5:00 p.m. on the next business day after Candidate Filing ends.

 


If I Withdraw My Candidate's Statement, Will I Receive a Refund?If So, When?

Yes. You will receive a refund 30 days after the election.

 


May I Change My Candidate's Statement After It is Filed?

No. Your Candidate’s Statement can be withdrawn but not changed, unless a court order has been issued.

 


May I Challenge Someone's Candidate's Statement? If So, How?

Yes. There is a 10-day public review period after candidate filing has ended during which time a person may file a writ of mandate or injunction to require the candidate's statement to be amended.

 


If I am in a General Election Run-Off, May I Use the same Candidate's Statement as I Used in the Primary Election?

Yes, but you must re-submit the same statement or submit a new Candidate’s Statement during the filing period for the General Election.  In either case, you must pay a deposit. The deposit will be the same as paid in the Primary Election.