Ballot access requirements for political candidates in Oregon

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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 Oregon. 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 Oregon. 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: Oregon elections, 2014

Oregon held a primary election on May 20, 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 participating in the state primary was March 11, 2014.[1] For those candidates just seeking participation in the November general election, the deadline was August 26, 2014.[1]

Legend:      Ballot access     Campaign finance     Election date




Dates and requirements for candidates in 2014
Deadline Event type Event description
30th day after the date of the transaction Campaign finance Reporting deadline for campaign finance transactions conducted on or before March 8, 2014 (primary election)
March 11, 2014 Ballot access Filing deadline for candidates seeking to participate in the primary
April 15, 2014 Campaign finance Reporting deadline for campaign finance transactions conducted between March 9 and April 7 (primary election)
7th day after the date of transaction Campaign finance Reporting deadline for campaign finance transactions conducted between April 8 and May 20 (primary election)
May 20, 2014 Election date State primary date
30th day after the date of transaction Campaign finance Reporting deadline for campaign finance transactions conducted on or before August 23, 2014 (general election)
August 26, 2014 Ballot access Filing deadline for candidates seeking to participate in the November general election (unaffiliated and minor party candidates)
September 30, 2014 Campaign finance Reporting deadline for campaign finance transactions conducted between August 24 and September 22 (general election)
7th day after the date of transaction Campaign finance Reporting deadline for campaign finance transactions conducted between September 23 and November 4 (general election)
November 4, 2014 Election date General election

Political parties

See also: List of political parties in the United States

As of October 2013, there were nine recognized political parties in Oregon. Oregon statutes distinguish between "major" and "minor" political parties. A political party is considered "major" if at least five 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.[2] Any political party that does not meet this requirement but polled for any one of its candidates at least one 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.[3] Of the nine political parties recognized by the state, only the Republican and Democratic parties qualified as major political parties for the 2014 elections.[4]

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 by-laws
Pacific Green Party Official party website Party platform
Progressive Party Official party website Party platform
Working Families Party Official party website Party platform
Independent Party Official party website Party by-laws
Americans Elect Party National party website
Constitution 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. 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.[5]

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.[6]

Process to establish a political party

DocumentIcon.jpg 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.[3] 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.[7]

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.[3] 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:[3]

  1. Presidential elector at the last general election; or
  2. 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 (see "Political parties" above for more information), may participate in primaries.[8]

Process to become a candidate

Figure 1: This is the Candidate Filing Form for major party and nonpartisan candidates.

For major party candidates

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Chapter 249, Sections 020, 068 and 056 of the Oregon Revised Statutes

Major party candidates 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.[9][10] Filing fees are as follows:[11]
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 Secretary of State.[9] Signature requirements are as follows:[12][13]
Office Required signatures
U.S. Representative The lesser of 1,000 signatures or two 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 two 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 two percent of the number of votes cast in the district for president by members of the candidate's party***
*"Signatures must be obtained from five percent of the precincts in 1/4 of the counties in the congressional district."
**"Signatures must be obtained from at least seven counties and be comprised of electors from five percent of the precincts in each of those counties."
***"If the district is within one county, signatures must be obtained from ten 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 six percent of the precincts in each of those counties."[12]

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

Unaffiliated candidates 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

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Chapter 249, Section 740 of the Oregon Revised Statutes

Unaffiliated candidates must submit the appropriate filing form with the Secretary of State's office 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 one 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.[14]

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 Secretary of State's office 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.[15] Figures in the below table are estimates based on the total number of ballots cast per district in the 2012 general election.[16] 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

DocumentIcon.jpg 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 Secretary of State's office) 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.[17]

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.[12][18][19]

The assembly itself must meet the following requirements:[12][18]

  • 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 as follows:[12][18]

Office Required signatures
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 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 Secretary of State's office will then determine whether the filing packet and petition are valid.[12][18]

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.[12]

Petition requirements

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.[5][20]

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).[5][20]

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.[5][20]

Campaign finance

Campaign finance requirements

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Chapter 260 of the Oregon Revised Statutes

All candidates must form candidate committees, unless they meet all of the following conditions:[21][22]

  1. The candidate elects to serve as his or her own treasurer.
  2. The candidate does not have an existing candidate committee.
  3. 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 Secretary of State's office 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 to the Elections Division. A form including campaign account information must accompany the Statement of Organization.[21][23] All candidate committees must establish a dedicated campaign account that meets all of the following standards:[21][24]

  • 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.

The candidate committee must designate a treasurer, who in turn must sign and file the Statement of Organization. The candidate may serve as his or her own committee treasurer.[21][25]

Generally speaking, the candidate and treasurer are responsible for the following duties:[21][26]

  • 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. Below is a table outlining transaction report due dates for the 2014 regular election season.[21][27]

Transaction report dates for 2014 primary (May 20, 2014)
Transaction date Deadline to file
On or before March 8, 2014 30th day after the date of transaction
March 9 to April 7 April 15, 2014
April 8 to May 20 7th day after the date of transaction
Transaction report dates for 2014 general election (November 4, 2014)
Transaction date Deadline to file
On or before August 23, 2014 30th day after the date of transaction
August 24 to September 22 September 30, 2014
September 23 to November 4 7th day after the date of transaction

Candidate committees that do not expect to receive more than $3,500 in contributions or make more than $3,500 in expenditures are required to file a Statement of Organization and designate a campaign bank account, but do not have to file transactions via ORESTAR. Instead, such committees must file a Certificate of Limited Contributions and Expenditures. This form may be filed electronically via ORESTAR or may be submitted on paper.[21]

Contribution limits

There are no limits placed on campaign contributions in Oregon.[28]

Election-related agencies

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 St NE, Ste 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/
E-mail: elections.sos@state.or.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 5, Section 1 and Article 6, Section 1 of the Oregon Constitution. The state executive term limits in Oregon are as follows:

  • Governor may serve a total of two terms and is eligible for eight out of any period of 12 years.[29]
  • Secretary of State may serve a total of two terms and is eligible for eight out of any period of 12 years.[30]
  • Treasurer may serve a total of two terms and is eligible for eight out of any period of 12 years.[30]

There are no state executives who are term-limited in 2014.

State legislators

See also: State legislatures with term limits

There are no term limits placed on Oregon state legislators.

Congressional partisanship

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

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
     Democratic Party 2 4 6
     Republican Party 0 1 1
TOTALS as of December 2014 2 5 7

State legislative partisanship

Portal:State legislatures

Here is the current partisan breakdown of members of the state legislature of Oregon:

Senate

Party As of December 2014
     Democratic Party 16
     Republican Party 14
Total 30

House

Party As of December 2014
     Democratic Party 34
     Republican Party 26
Total 60

Recent news

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All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

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See also

External links

Official state and federal links

Forms

Other information

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Oregon Secretary of State, "2014 Election Calendar," accessed November 14, 2013
  2. Oregon Revised Statutes, "Chapter 248, Section 006," accessed January 10, 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Oregon Revised Statutes, "Chapter 248, Section 008," accessed January 10, 2014
  4. Oregon Secretary of State, "Voter Registration by County August 2013," accessed January 28, 2014
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Oregon Secretary of State - Elections Division, "Candidates Manual," accessed January 20, 2014
  6. E-mail consultation with ballot access expert Richard Winger in January 2014.
  7. Oregon Secretary of State, "November 2, 2010 General Election Abstracts of Votes - Governor," accessed January 10, 2014
  8. Oregon Revised Statutes, "Chapter 248, Section 009," accessed January 10, 2014
  9. 9.0 9.1 Oregon Revised Statutes, "Chapter 249, Section 020," accessed January 10, 2014
  10. Oregon Revised Statutes, "Chapter 249, Section 035," accessed January 10, 2014
  11. Oregon Revised Statutes, "Chapter 249, Section 056," accessed January 10, 2014
  12. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named ormanual
  13. Oregon Revised Statutes, "Chapter 249, Section 068," accessed January 10, 2014
  14. Oregon Revised Statutes, "Chapter 249, Section 740," accessed January 10, 2014
  15. Correspondence with the Oregon Secretary of State's office in January 2014
  16. Oregon Secretary of State, "Statistical Summary - November 6, 2012, General Election," accessed January 28, 2014
  17. Oregon Revised Statutes, "Chapter 257, Section 013," accessed January 27, 2014
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 Oregon Revised Statutes, "Chapter 249, Section 735," accessed January 13, 2014
  19. Oregon Revised Statutes, "Chapter 249, Section 737," accessed January 13, 2014
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Oregon Secretary of State, "Minor Political Party Manual - 2014," accessed January 13, 2014
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 21.4 21.5 21.6 Oregon Secretary of State, "Campaign Finance Manual - 2014," accessed January 13, 2014
  22. Oregon Revised Statutes, "Chapter 260, Section 043," accessed January 13, 2014
  23. Oregon Revised Statutes, "Chapter 260, Section 039," accessed January 13, 2014
  24. Oregon Revised Statutes, "Chapter 260, Section 054," accessed January 13, 2014
  25. Oregon Revised Statutes, "Chapter 260, Section 035," accessed January 13, 2014
  26. Oregon Revised Statutes, "Chapter 260, Section 037," accessed January 13, 2014
  27. Oregon Revised Statutes, "Chapter 260, Section 057," accessed January 13, 2014
  28. National Conference of State Legislatures, "State Limits on Contributions to Candidates," updated October 2013
  29. Constitution of Oregon, "Article 5, Section 1," accessed January 10, 2014
  30. 30.0 30.1 Constitution of Oregon, "Article 6, Section 1," accessed January 10, 2014