Ballot access requirements for political candidates in North Carolina

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This page contains extensive information about ballot access requirements for state and federal candidates running for elected office in the state of North Carolina. Offices included are:

This page contains information on specific filing dates for each election year, how to become a candidate, how to create a political party, campaign finance requirements, state agency contacts involved in the election process, and term limits in North Carolina. Information on running for election as a presidential candidate or for county and municipal offices is not included. This page reflects research completed in April 2014.

Note: If you have any questions or comments about this page, email us.

Year-specific dates

2014

See also: North Carolina elections, 2014

North Carolina held a primary election on May 6, 2014. The general election took place on November 4, 2014. Voters elected candidates to serve in the following state and federal offices:

The 2014 filing deadline for candidates running as a nominee of an established political party was February 28, 2014 (this deadline does not apply to candidates of newly established parties, which select their nominees by convention).[1] The filing deadline for unaffiliated candidates running for office was June 27, 2014.[1] The deadline to create a new political party in time for the 2014 election was June 1, 2014.[1]

Legend:      Ballot access     Campaign finance     Election date




Dates and requirements for candidates in 2014
Deadline Event type Event description
February 28, 2014 Ballot access Filing deadline for partisan candidates seeking county, state, and federal office
April 28, 2014 Campaign finance First quarter plus (ending April 19)
May 6, 2014 Election date State primary date
May 17, 2014 Ballot access Deadline to submit petitions to county board of elections for verification prior to submitting to State Board of Elections (applies to new political parties)
June 1, 2014 Ballot access Deadline to file for the creation of a new political party
June 12, 2014 Ballot access Deadline to submit petitions to county board of elections for verification prior to submitting to State Board of Elections (applies to unaffiliated candidates for statewide office)
June 27, 2014 Ballot access Filing deadline for unaffiliated candidates seeking county, state, and federal office
July 10, 2014 Campaign finance Second quarter (ending June 30)
July 25, 2014 Campaign finance Mid-year semi-annual (ending June 30)
October 27, 2014 Campaign finance Third quarter plus (ending October 18)
November 4, 2014 Election date General election
January 12, 2015 Campaign finance Fourth quarter (ending December 31)
March 30, 2015 Campaign finance Year-end semi-annual (ending December 31)

Political parties

See also: List of political parties in the United States

As of October 2013, there were three recognized political parties in North Carolina. In order to be recognized by the state, a political party must fulfill certain requirements (detailed below in "Process to establish a political party").

Party Website link By-laws/platform link
Republican Party Official party website Party platform
Libertarian Party Official party website Party platform
Democratic Party Official party website Party platform

In some states, a candidate may choose to have a label other than that of an officially recognized party appear alongside his or her name on the ballot. Such labels are called political party designations. A political party designation would be used when a candidate qualifies as an independent, but prefers to use a different label. North Carolina does not allow candidates to identify in this way. A total of 25 states allow candidates to use political party designations in non-presidential elections.[2]

The 11 states listed below (and Washington, D.C.) do not provide a process for political organizations to gain qualified status in advance of an election. Instead, in these states, an aspirant party must first field candidates using party designations. If the candidate or candidates win the requisite votes, the organization may then be recognized as an official political party. In these states, a political party can be formed only if the candidate in the general election obtains a specific number of votes. The number of votes required and type of race vary from state to state. Details can be found on the state-specific requirements pages.[3]

Process to establish a political party

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Chapter 163, Article 9, Section 96 of the North Carolina General Statutes

A political party is defined as either of the following:[4]

  • (a): "Any group of voters which, at the last preceding general State election, polled for its candidate for Governor, or for presidential electors, at least two percent (2%) of the entire vote cast in the State for Governor or for presidential electors." For example, in 2012, 4,468,295 votes were cast for governor.[5] For a newly established political party to maintain its recognized status, its candidate for governor would have had to win at least 89,366 votes
  • (b): "Any group of voters which shall have filed with the State Board of Elections petitions for the formulation of a new political party which are signed by registered and qualified voters in this State equal in number to two percent (2%) of the total number of voters who voted in the most recent general election for Governor. Also the petition must be signed by at least 200 registered voters from each of four congressional districts in North Carolina."

Petitions must include the name of the proposed political party. Petitions may be started at any time within a four-year presidential election cycle. After each presidential election, existing petitions for new parties that have not been finalized are voided and must be restarted.[6] Further petition requirements are discussed below.

The proposed party name cannot contain any word that appears in the name of an existing recognized party or any word that may, in the judgement of the State Board of Elections, suggest similarity to an existing party.[4] Petitions must also include the name and address of the state chairman of the proposed party.[4] Verification of properly submitted petitions will be completed within two weeks of the date petitions are presented.[4]

In the first general election for which a newly created party qualifies, candidates will be selected by party convention.[7] State law does not mandate standards for party by-laws or practices for political conventions. Such matters are left to the discretion of the parties.[6]

Events

2012

In the November 6, 2012 general election, the Libertarian Party candidate for governor, Barbara Howe, polled 94,652 out of 4,468,295 votes cast, approximately 2.1 percent.[5] This was sufficient for maintenance of the party's recognized status in the state.[4]

2008

In the November 4, 2008 general election, the Libertarian Party candidate for governor, Michael Munger, polled 121,584 out of 4,268,941 votes cast, approximately 2.85 percent.[8] This was sufficient for maintenance of the party's recognized status in the state.[4]

Process to become a candidate

Figure 1: This is the Statement of Organization Form for new candidates.
Quick facts about Lieutenant Governors
  • 45 states have Lt. governors, 43 of them fill the office by election
  • 21 states elect Lt. governors on a single ticket with the governor at both the primary and general elections
  • 5 states elect Lt. governors separately from Governors at the primary and then put the top two vote-getters together on the general election ballot
  • 17 states, including North Carolina, elect Lt. governors separately from the Governor

For partisan candidates

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Chapter 163, Article 10, Section 106 of the North Carolina General Statutes

Partisan candidates must be registered as affiliates of the party under which they intend to campaign.[9] Candidates must also do the following:[9]

  • File a Notice of Candidacy with the appropriate board of elections (state or county-level)
  • Disclosure of Felony Conviction form
  • Provide for payment of requisite filing fees

Filing fees for primary contests are established by Chapter 163, Article 10, Section 107 of the North Carolina General Statutes. Filing fees are calculated as follows:[10]

Office How the fee is determined Fee for 2014
Governor 1% of the office's annual salary N/A (office not up for election in 2014)
Lieutenant Governor 1% of the office's annual salary N/A
State executive offices 1% of the office's annual salary N/A
U.S. Senator 1% of the office's annual salary $1,740
Member of the U.S. House 1% of the office's annual salary $1,740
State Senator 1% of the office's annual salary $207
Member of the State House 1% of the office's annual salary $207

For independent candidates

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Chapter 163, Article 11, Section 122 of the North Carolina General Statutes

Unaffiliated candidates must file the same forms and pay the same filing fees as partisan candidates.[11] In addition, they must petition to appear on the ballot. Signature requirements are as follows (additional petition requirements are discussed below):[11]

Office How the number of signatures is determined Number for 2014
Governor, U.S. Senate and other statewide offices 2% of the total number of voters who voted in the most recent general election for Governor (must include at least 200 signatures from each congressional district) 89,366
U.S House, State House and Senate seats for districts that cover more than one county 4% of the total number of registered voters in the district as of January 1 of the election year Varies
State House and Senate seats for districts that lie within one county 4% of the total number of registered voters in the district as of January 1 of the election year Varies

For informational purposes, the table below provides examples for signature requirements based upon 2012 voter registrations.[12][13][14]

1st Congressional District 2nd Congressional District State Senate District 1 State Senate District 2 State House District 1 State House District 2
Number of registered voters (2012) 513,187 480,274 137,514 132,640 60,427 51,944
Number of required signatures 20,527 19,211 5,501 5,306 2,417 2,078

For write-in candidates

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Chapter 163, Article 11, Section 123 of the North Carolina General Statutes

To be certified, write-in candidates must submit a declaration of intent and petition.[15] Signature requirements are as follows (additional petition requirements are discussed below):[15]

Office Required number of signatures
Governor, U.S. Senate and other statewide offices 500
U.S House, State House and Senate seats for districts that cover more than one county 250
State House and Senate seats for districts that lie within one county If there are 5,000 or more registered voters in the district, 100 signatures; if fewer than 5,000, 1% of the number of registered voters

Write-in candidates do not have to pay a filing fee.[16]

Petition requirements

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Chapter 163, Article 19 of the North Carolina General Statutes

In some cases, political parties and/or candidates may need to obtain signatures via the petition process to gain access to the ballot. This section outlines the laws and regulations pertaining to petitions and circulators.

Notice of circulation of a petition must be registered with the county board of elections with which the petition is to be filed. The date of registration of the notice is considered the date of issuance and commencement of circulation of the petition.[17]

The relevant statutes do not stipulate a date on which petitions may begin to circulate, but petitions are deemed void one year after the date the notice of circulation is registered with the county board of elections. No person may sign the name of another person to a petition. The statutes do not address circulator requirements.[17]

Campaign finance

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Chapter 163, Article 22A of the North Carolina General Statutes

Each candidate for state and local office is required to appoint a treasurer (a candidate may serve as his or her own treasurer).[18] The treasurer is responsible for submitting to the State Board of Elections a Statement of Organization, which must include the following:[18]

  • The name, address and purpose of the candidate or political committee
  • The names, addresses and relationships of affiliated or connected candidates, committees, parties, etc.
  • The name, address and position with the candidate or political committee of the custodian of books and accounts
  • A listing of all banks, safety deposit boxes or other depositories used, including the names and numbers of all such accounts and safety deposit boxes
  • The name(s) and address(es) of any assistant treasurers

A candidate must submit a Statement of Organization within ten days of filing his or her Notice of Candidacy.[19]

The treasurer is also responsible for submitting regular campaign finance reports to the State Board of Elections.[20] These reports must set forth the following (forms for all required reports are prescribed by the State Board of Elections):

  • Contributions: A list of all contributions received by or on behalf of the candidate or political committee, including the name and mailing address of each contributor, the amount contributed, the principal occupation of the contributor and the date the contribution was received. The sum total of all contributions to date must be "plainly exhibited."[21]
  • Expenditures: A list of all expenditures made by or on behalf of the candidate of political committee, including the name and mailing address of each payee, the amount paid, the purpose of the expenditure and the date the payment was made. The sum total of all expenditures must be stated.[21]
  • Loans: Each report must include an addendum listing all proceeds derived from loans for funds used or to be used in the campaign. The amount of the loan, its source, period, interest rate, security pledged (if any) and all makers and endorsers must be noted.[21]

During years in which there is an election for which the candidate is campaigning or in which the campaign committee is supporting or opposing a candidate, quarterly statements must be filed within seven working days after the close of each calendar quarter. Semiannual reports are required if contributions are received or expenditures are made for which no other reports are required.[20] Filing due dates for 2014 are as follows:[22]

Deadline Report Report end date
April 28, 2014 First quarter plus April 19, 2014
July 10, 2014 Second quarter June 30, 2014
July 25, 2014 Mid-year semi-annual June 30, 2014
October 27, 2014 Third quarter plus October 18, 2014
January 12, 2015 Fourth quarter December 31, 2014
March 30, 2015 Year-end semi-annual December 31, 2014

Any committee (with the exception of federal campaign committee) that receives a contribution meeting all of the below requirements must disclose that contribution to the State Board of Elections within 48 hours.[23]

  1. Contribution totals $1,000 or more, and
  2. The contribution is received after the period covered by the last report due before the election, and
  3. The contribution is received on or before the election

Contribution limits

An individual, political committee, or other entity cannot contribute more than $5,000 per election to any candidate.[24]

Election-related agencies

See also: State election agencies

Candidates running for office may require some form of interaction with the following agencies:

  • North Carolina State Board of Elections
Why: This agency provides and processes Notice of Candidacy paperwork for state executive and congressional offices.
506 North Harrington St
PO Box 27255
Raleigh, NC 27603-1326
Main Number: 919.733.7173
Toll Free: 1.866.522.4723
Fax: 919-715-0135
Website: http://www.sboe.state.nc.us/
E-mail: elections.sboe@ncsbe.gov

Counties

See also: Counties in North Carolina

Candidates must file a number of documents with the county elections office in the county they reside in. Individual county contact information can be found below. In the table below, if a website is not provided it is because one does not exist for this municipality. To provide a link or information for the table below, please email us.

Term limits

State executives

Portal:State Executive Officials
See also: State executives with term limits and States with gubernatorial term limits

State executive term limits are established in Article 3, Section 2 of the North Carolina State Constitution.[25] The state executive term limits in North Carolina are as follows:

There are no state executive officials that are term-limited in 2014.

State legislators

See also: State legislatures with term limits

There are no term limits placed on North Carolina state legislators.

Congressional partisanship

Portal:Congress
See also: List of United States Representatives from North Carolina and List of United States Senators from North Carolina

Here is the current partisan breakdown of the congressional members from North Carolina:

Congressional Partisan Breakdown from North Carolina
Party U.S. Senate U.S. House Total
     Democratic Party 1 4 5
     Republican Party 1 9 10
TOTALS as of December 2014 2 13 15

State legislative partisanship

Portal:State legislatures

Here is the current partisan breakdown of members of the state legislature of North Carolina:

State Senate

Party As of December 2014
     Democratic Party 17
     Republican Party 33
Total 50


State House

Party As of December 2014
     Democratic Party 43
     Republican Party 77
Total 120


Recent news

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See also

External links

Official state and federal links

Forms

Other information

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 North Carolina State Board of Elections, "2014 Election Calendar," accessed November 18, 2013
  2. North Carolina General Statutes, "Chapter 163, Article 11, Section 122," accessed December 5, 2013
  3. E-mail consultation with ballot access expert Richard Winger in January 2014.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 North Carolina General Statutes, "Chapter 163, Article 9, Section 96," accessed December 9, 2013
  5. 5.0 5.1 North Carolina State Board of Elections, "2012 General Election Results," accessed December 12, 2013
  6. 6.0 6.1 Correspondence with the North Carolina State Board of Elections in December 2013.
  7. North Carolina General Statutes, "Chapter 163, Article 9, Section 98," accessed December 9, 2013
  8. North Carolina State Board of Elections, "2008 General Election Results," accessed December 12, 2013
  9. 9.0 9.1 North Carolina General Statutes, "Chapter 163, Article 10, Section 106," accessed December 9, 2013
  10. North Carolina General Statutes, "Chapter 163, Article 10, Section 107," accessed December 9, 2013
  11. 11.0 11.1 North Carolina General Statutes, "Chapter 163, Article 11, Section 122," accessed December 9, 2013
  12. North Carolina State Board of Elections, "Voter Registration Statistics - Congressional Districts," accessed December 12, 2013
  13. North Carolina State Board of Elections, "Voter Registration Statistics - State Senate Districts," accessed December 12, 2013
  14. North Carolina State Board of Elections, "Voter Registration Statistics - State House Districts," accessed December 12, 2013
  15. 15.0 15.1 North Carolina General Statutes, "Chapter 163, Article 11, Section 123," accessed December 9, 2013
  16. North Carolina State Board of Elections, "Fact Sheet: Write-in Candidates 2014 Election," accessed December 9, 2013
  17. 17.0 17.1 North Carolina General Statutes, "Chapter 163, Article 19," accessed December 31, 2013
  18. 18.0 18.1 North Carolina General Statutes, "Chapter 163, Article 22A, Section 278.7," accessed December 9, 2013
  19. North Carolina General Statutes, "Chapter 163, Article 22A, Section 278.9," accessed December 9, 2013
  20. 20.0 20.1 North Carolina General Statutes, "Chapter 163, Article 22A, Section 278.9," accessed December 9, 2013
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 North Carolina General Statutes, "Chapter 163, Article 22A, Section 278.11," accessed December 31, 2013
  22. Correspondence with the North Carolina State Board of Elections.
  23. Correspondence with the North Carolina State Board of Elections in January 2014.
  24. North Carolina General Statutes, "Chapter 163, Article 22A, Section 278.13," accessed December 9, 2013
  25. North Carolina State Constitution, "Article 3, Section 2," accessed December 31, 2013