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Ballot access requirements for political candidates in Oregon
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- 1 Year-specific dates
- 2 Political parties
- 3 Process to establish a political party
- 4 Process to become a candidate
- 5 Petition requirements
- 6 Campaign finance
- 7 Election-related agencies
- 8 Term limits
- 9 Congressional partisanship
- 10 State legislative partisanship
- 11 Recent news
- 12 See also
- 13 External links
- 14 References
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 Oregon. Information on running for election as a presidential candidate or for county and municipal offices is not included.
Note: If you have any questions or comments about this page, email us.
- See also: Oregon elections, 2015
There are no regularly scheduled state executive, state legislative or congressional elections in Oregon in 2015.
To view historical dates for 2014, click [show] to expand the section.
Oregon statutes distinguish between "major" and "minor" political parties. A political party is considered "major" if at least 5 percent of the number of electors registered in the state are registered as members of the party no later than the 275th day before the date of a primary election.
Any political party that does not meet this requirement but polled for any one of its candidates at least 1 percent of the total votes cast in the last general election for either President or any single partisan state office to be voted upon by the state at large is considered a "minor" party.
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. Oregon 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.
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.
Process to establish a political party
See statutes: Chapter 248, Section 008 of the Oregon Revised Statutes
In order to qualify as a new minor party, a group of electors must file with the secretary of state a petition with signatures equaling at least 1.5 percent of the total votes cast for all candidates for governor at the most recent election at which a candidate for governor was elected to a full term. For example, 1,453,548 were cast for governor in 2010. Therefore, until the next gubernatorial election in 2014, 21,804 signatures will be required on new party petitions.
The petition must state the intention to form a new party and provide a designation for the party. Before circulating, the petition's sponsor must file with the secretary of state a signed copy of the prospective petition. The completed petition must be filed no later than two years after the date the prospective petition is filed.
Further petition requirements are discussed below.
In order to maintain qualified minor party status, the party must poll for any one of its candidates for any public office at least one percent of the total votes cast for all candidates for either:
- Presidential elector at the last general election; or
- Any single state office to be voted upon in the state at large for which nominations by political parties are permitted by law
A minor party is required to file a copy of its organizational documents with the filing officer (i.e., the secretary of state) no later than 30 days after they are adopted by the party. All minor parties select candidates for office by nominating convention. Only major parties as defined by the state may participate in primaries. See "Political parties" above for more information.
Process to become a candidate
For major party candidates
A major party candidate can gain access to the ballot via one of two methods:
- 1.) by filing a declaration of candidacy with the Secretary of State and paying the requisite filing fees. Filing fees are as follows:
Office Fee U.S. Senator $150 Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Attorney General, Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries, U.S. Representative $100 State Senator and State Representative $25
- 2.) by filing a nominating petition with the Oregon Secretary of State. Signature requirements are as follows:
Office Required signatures U.S. Representative The lesser of 1,000 signatures or 2 percent of the number of votes cast in the district for president by members of the candidate's party* Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Attorney General, U.S. Senator The lesser of 1,000 signatures or 2 percent of the number of votes cast for president by members of the candidate's party** State Senator and State Representative The lesser of 500 signatures or 2 percent of the number of votes cast in the district for president by members of the candidate's party*** *"Signatures must be obtained from 5 percent of the precincts in one-fourth of the counties in the congressional district."
**"Signatures must be obtained from at least seven counties and be comprised of electors from 5 percent of the precincts in each of those counties."
***"If the district is within one county, signatures must be obtained from 10 percent of the precincts. If the district is in more than one county, signatures must be obtained from at least two counties and be comprised of electors from 6 percent of the precincts in each of those counties."
For minor party candidates
Recognized minor parties (as defined above under "Political parties") are not permitted to participate in primary elections and instead must select candidates by nominating convention.
For unaffiliated candidates
An unaffiliated candidate can gain access to the ballot via one of two methods: nomination by individual electors or nomination by an assembly of electors.
Nomination by individual electors
See statutes: Chapter 249, Section 740 of the Oregon Revised Statutes
An unaffiliated candidate must submit the appropriate filing form with the Oregon Secretary of State and obtain approval to circulate the nominating petition prior to collecting signatures. Once approval has been obtained, circulators must gather signatures equal to at least 1 percent of the total votes cast for all candidates for presidential electors in the most recent general election within the electoral district for which the nomination is being sought.
|Office||Required signatures in 2014|
|U.S. Representative||Varies by district|
|Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Attorney General, U.S. Senator||17,893|
|State Senator and State Representative||Varies by district|
The Oregon Secretary of State does not calculate in advance the number of signatures required for each office. Instead, the number of required signatures is determined when candidates obtain approval to circulate nominating petitions. Figures in the below table are estimates based on the total number of ballots cast per district in the 2012 general election. Candidates should consult with the Secretary of State's office for exact numbers.
|Office||Estimate of signatures required in 2014|
|U.S. House District 1||3,600|
|U.S. House District 2||3,553|
|State Senate District 3||629|
|State House District 1||348|
Nomination by assembly of electors
See statutes: Chapter 249, Section 735 of the Oregon Revised Statutes
An unaffiliated candidate must submit a candidate filing form signed only by the candidate. Upon receipt of the form, the elections official (i.e., the Oregon Secretary of State) will review the document and provide approval to organize an assembly of electors. The candidate must coordinate with the elections official to determine the time of the assembly. Once scheduled, notice of the assembly must be published at least once in at least three newspapers of general circulation in the electoral district in which the assembly seeks to nominate candidates. The notice must include the time and place of the assembly, offices for which nominations will be made, and the names and addresses of at least 25 active registered voters who want the assembly held and who are eligible to participate. A voter is considered an active registered voter if there is no evidence that information required for registration has changed. A voter is considered an inactive registered voter if the county clerk has received evidence that information required for registration has changed and the voter has neither voted nor updated the inaccurate registration for a period of at least five years.
Final approval to convene the assembly is granted once the candidate files a copy of the published notice with the elections official. An affidavit verifying that notice of the assembly was published in accordance with statutory requirements must be included with the copy of the notice, and must be signed by the newspaper's owner, editor, publisher, manager, advertising manager, principal clerk of one of the aforementioned, or the printer. The elections official will provide a written approval to convene the assembly. This formal approval document will include a petition number, the number of signatures required, the filing deadline and (for state candidates) a signature sheet template.
The assembly itself must meet the following requirements:
- The assembly must be held in one day in one location and must be completed within 12 hours.
- Assembly participants must be active registered voters within the electoral district from which the assembly is nominating candidates
- Candidates may only be nominated for offices published in the notice.
- The candidate winning the highest number of voters will be the nominee of the assembly for that office.
- Only assembly-goers may sign the approved the signature sheets.
- All signers on a signature sheet must be registered voters in the same county.
- Once the required number of registered voters are present, they must remain in assembly until candidates have been nominated, signature sheets signed and the convention adjourned.
Signature requirements for nomination by an assembly of electors are described in the table below.
|U.S. Representative||500 signatures obtained at the assembly|
|Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Attorney General, U.S. Senator||1,000 signatures obtained at the assembly|
|State Senator and State Representative||250 signatures obtained at the assembly|
Once the nomination process has been completed, the assembly is adjourned. The elections official collects all completed signature sheets and stamps each sheet under the last signature line signed to ensure that no additional signatures are added. Signature sheets will be then be returned to the presiding officer at the assembly, who in turn must submit the signature sheets to the appropriate county-level elections official for verification (allowing "sufficient time" for the verification process to be completed in advance of the filing deadline). The county-level elections official, upon completing the verification process, will return the forms to the presiding officer of the assembly. The candidate or presiding officer of the assembly must then submit to the Oregon Secretary of State a candidate filing form with the Certificate of Nomination completed by the presiding officer and secretary of the assembly and notarized, the verified signature sheets, and proof of published notice affidavit. The Oregon Secretary of State will then determine whether the filing packet and petition are valid.
For write-in candidates
Write-in candidates are not required to submit candidate filing forms in advance. In the event that a write-in candidate is nominated or elected, the elections official will notify the candidate by sending a write-in candidate filing form. To accept the nomination or office, the candidate must complete, sign and return the form to the elections official
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 in Oregon.
The Elections Division produces official petition templates that candidates for state office and proposed party sponsors must use. Signature sheets must be printed on standard 8.5 inch by 11 inch size paper. The paper must be least 20 pounds and uncoated. The sheets may be printed on white or colored paper stock, provided that elections officials are able to easily verify signatures.
Signers of candidate petitions are required to provide an original signature and residence or mailing address. Signers are further encouraged to print their names and the date signed. If the petition is for the nomination of a major party candidate, the signer must be be a member of the same political party as the candidate. If the petition is for the formation of a minor political party, the signer is not required to provide an address, but is encouraged to do so. Only active registered voters may sign any petition.
Circulators must personally witness each signature collected and complete a circulator certification after witnessing all signatures collected on a sheet. Circulators may be paid or unpaid, but the signature sheet must note the pay status of the circulator. The relevant statutes do not note additional requirements that circulators must meet (including residency requirements).
Campaign finance requirements
See statutes: Chapter 260 of the Oregon Revised Statutes
- The candidate elects to serve as his or her own treasurer.
- The candidate does not have an existing candidate committee.
- The candidate does not expect to receive or spend more than $750 during a calendar year (including personal funds).
A candidate committee must file with the Elections Division of the Oregon Secretary of State a Statement of Organization within three business days of first receiving a contribution or making an expenditure. Statements of Organization may be filed electronically via ORESTAR (Oregon Election System for Tracking and Reporting). The Statement of Organization may also be filed in print format by mailing, faxing, or hand-delivering the requisite forms. A form including campaign account information must accompany the Statement of Organization.
- The account must be established in a financial institution located in Oregon.
- The account must be maintained in the name of the committee.
- All expenditures made by the committee must be drawn from the account and issued via check, debit card or other means of electronic transmission.
- All contributions must be deposited into the campaign account within seven days of receipt.
- The account can only include contributions or money from other receipts received by the committee.
- establishing a dedicated campaign account in accordance with the previously stated requirements and filing a Statement of Organization
- signing and filing transaction reports
- keeping detailed financial records current to within seven days of each contribution or expenditure
- preserving records for each transaction for at least two years after the date of the transaction
Candidate committees that expect to receive $3,500 or more in a calendar year are required to report all "transactions" via ORESTAR. Transactions include contributions, expenditures, other receipts and disbursements and all other committee financial activities. Generally, transaction reports are due no later than 30 calendar days after the date of the transaction, though there are times when transaction reports are due within seven calendar days of the date of the transaction.
A candidate committee that does not expect to receive more than $3,500 in contributions or make more than $3,500 in expenditures is required to file a Statement of Organization and designate a campaign bank account, but does not have to file transactions via ORESTAR. Instead, the committee must file a Certificate of Limited Contributions and Expenditures. This form may be filed electronically via ORESTAR or may be submitted on paper.
- See also: State election agencies
Candidates running for office may require some form of interaction with the following agencies:
- Oregon Secretary of State - Elections Division
- Why: This agency provides and processes candidate filing forms for federal and statewide offices. This agency also processes campaign finance reports.
- 255 Capitol Street NE, Suite 501
- Salem, OR 97310-1306
- Phone: 503.986.1518
- Fax: 503.373.7414
- TTY: 1.800.735.2900
- Website: http://www.sos.state.or.us/elections/
- Email: email@example.com
- 255 Capitol Street NE, Suite 501
- The governor may serve a total of two terms and is eligible for eight out of any period of 12 years.
- The secretary of state may serve a total of two terms and is eligible for eight out of any period of 12 years.
- The treasurer may serve a total of two terms and is eligible for eight out of any period of 12 years.
There were no state executives who were term-limited in 2014.
- See also: State legislatures with term limits
There are no term limits placed on Oregon state legislators.
Here is the current partisan breakdown of the congressional members from Oregon:
|Congressional Partisan Breakdown from Oregon|
|Party||U.S. Senate||U.S. House||Total|
|TOTALS as of March 2015||2||5||7|
State legislative partisanship
Here is the current partisan breakdown of members of the state legislature of Oregon:
|Party||As of March 2015|
|Party||As of March 2015|
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Oregon + ballot + access"
- All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.
- Oregon elections, 2014
- Campaign finance requirements for Oregon ballot measures
- Oregon signature requirements
- State election agencies
- Counties in Oregon
- State executives with term limits
- States with gubernatorial term limits
- Oregon state executive official elections, 2014
- State legislatures with term limits
- List of United States Representatives from Oregon
- List of United States Senators from Oregon
- Official Website of the Oregon Secretary of State
- Official Website of the Oregon Government Ethics Commission
- Official Website of the Federal Election Commission
- FEC 2014 Primary Election Dates and Candidate Filing Deadlines
- Oregon Election Laws
- Statewide Initiative and Referendum Manual
- 2014 Election Calendar
- Candidate Filing - Major Political Party or Nonpartisan
- Minor Political Party Candidate Filing
- Write-In Candidate Acceptance Form
- Petition to Establish a Political Party
- Statement of Organization for Candidate Committee Form
- Ballot Access News -- News updates and analysis of ballot access issues
- ThirdPartyPolitics.us -- a blog about American third party and independent politics
- RangeVoting.org -- a listing of notably restrictive ballot access requirements
- Center for Competitive Politics, "Election Law Handbook," Winter 2013
- National Voter Outreach -- a political consulting firm that specializes in organizing petition signature drives
- Oregon Secretary of State, "2014 Election Calendar," accessed November 14, 2013
- Oregon Secretary of State, "Voter Registration by County, December 2014," accessed February 11, 2015
- Oregon Revised Statutes, "Chapter 248, Section 006," accessed January 10, 2014
- Oregon Revised Statutes, "Chapter 248, Section 008," accessed January 10, 2014
- Oregon Secretary of State, "Voter Registration by County August 2013," accessed January 28, 2014
- Oregon Secretary of State - Elections Division, "Candidates Manual," accessed January 20, 2014
- E-mail consultation with ballot access expert Richard Winger in January 2014.
- Oregon Secretary of State, "November 2, 2010 General Election Abstracts of Votes - Governor," accessed January 10, 2014
- Oregon Revised Statutes, "Chapter 248, Section 009," accessed January 10, 2014
- Oregon Revised Statutes, "Chapter 249, Section 020," accessed January 10, 2014
- Oregon Revised Statutes, "Chapter 249, Section 035," accessed January 10, 2014
- Oregon Revised Statutes, "Chapter 249, Section 056," accessed January 10, 2014
- Oregon Revised Statutes, "Chapter 249, Section 068," accessed January 10, 2014
- Oregon Revised Statutes, "Chapter 249, Section 740," accessed January 10, 2014
- Correspondence with the Oregon Secretary of State in January 2014
- Oregon Secretary of State, "Statistical Summary - November 6, 2012, General Election," accessed January 28, 2014
- Oregon Revised Statutes, "Chapter 257, Section 013," accessed January 27, 2014
- Oregon Revised Statutes, "Chapter 249, Section 735," accessed January 13, 2014
- Oregon Revised Statutes, "Chapter 249, Section 737," accessed January 13, 2014
- Oregon Secretary of State, "Minor Political Party Manual - 2014," accessed January 13, 2014
- Oregon Secretary of State, "Campaign Finance Manual - 2014," accessed January 13, 2014
- Oregon Revised Statutes, "Chapter 260, Section 043," accessed January 13, 2014
- Oregon Revised Statutes, "Chapter 260, Section 039," accessed January 13, 2014
- Oregon Revised Statutes, "Chapter 260, Section 054," accessed January 13, 2014
- Oregon Revised Statutes, "Chapter 260, Section 035," accessed January 13, 2014
- Oregon Revised Statutes, "Chapter 260, Section 037," accessed January 13, 2014
- Oregon Revised Statutes, "Chapter 260, Section 057," accessed January 13, 2014
- National Conference of State Legislatures, "State Limits on Contributions to Candidates," updated October 2013
- Constitution of Oregon, "Article 5, Section 1," accessed January 10, 2014
- Constitution of Oregon, "Article 6, Section 1," accessed January 10, 2014