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Template:Kycandidateprocess

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DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Chapter 118 of the Kentucky Revised Statutes

There are three ways a candidate may gain ballot access in Kentucky: by political party primary, by political organization convention or by petition. A candidate must be registered with a political party if he or she wishes to run in the political party primary. If a candidate seeks nomination by a political organization, either by petition or convention, he or she must be registered with that organization. An independent candidate must be registered as an independent in order to use that designation on his or her nominating petition.[1][2]

Political party primary candidates

A political party candidate is granted ballot access by winning his or her party's primary election. The candidate must file a notification and declaration form with the Kentucky Secretary of State. This form must be signed by the candidate and by no less than two registered voters from the same party as the candidate and from the same district in which the candidate is running. This form cannot be signed earlier than the first Wednesday after the first Monday in November of the year preceding the election in which the candidate is running. The notification and declaration form must be filed by 4 p.m. on the last Tuesday in January preceding the primary election. A candidate defeated at the primary election is not permitted to run in the general election, with the exception of candidates running in a presidential preference primary.[3][4][5][6]

Political organization convention candidates

A political organization candidate is nominated at his or her political organization's convention. Only registered voters of the political organization can attend and vote at the convention. The Kentucky Statutes do not stipulate the time at which a convention must be held; however, it must be held prior to the filing deadline in order to complete all necessary paperwork. A candidate running for state executive office or state legislative office must first file a statement of candidacy form with the Kentucky Secretary of State. This form must be filed by 4 p.m. on April 1 (or the next business day if April 1 falls on a weekend or holiday). No charge is assessed for the filing of this form. The candidate must file nomination papers, including the nomination certificate from the convention, by the second Tuesday in August preceding the general election in which the candidate is running.[7][8][9][10]

Petition candidates

Political organization, political group and independent candidates may all run for office as petition candidates. A candidate running for state executive office or state legislative office must first file a statement of candidacy form with the Kentucky Secretary of State. This form must be filed by 4 p.m. on April 1 (or the next business day if April 1 falls on a weekend or holiday). No charge is assessed for the filing of this form. A petition signed by the candidate and by registered voters in the district from which the candidate seeks nomination must be filed with the Kentucky Secretary of State. Candidates may begin gathering signatures after the first Wednesday after the first Monday in November of the year preceding the general election in which the candidate is running.[2][7][9]

Petitions must be filed by the second Tuesday in August preceding the general election. Signature requirements vary according to the office sought. Examples are provided in the table below.[1][2][10]

Office sought Number of signatures required
Kentucky state executive office 5,000
Member of the United States Congress 400
Member of the Kentucky General Assembly 100

Write-in candidates

If a candidate does not wish to run by primary, convention or petition, he or she may gain ballot access as a write-in candidate. Though write-in candidates' names are not printed on the ballot, they may be written in by a voter. In order for a write-in vote to be counted, the write-in candidate must file a declaration of intent with the Kentucky Secretary of State by the fourth Friday in October preceding the general election. A candidate can be a write-in for only one office and will be considered ineligible for write-in status if he or she has already been placed on the ballot by a different method.[11]

All candidates

Any registered voter may challenge the "good faith of a candidate” at any time before the election. No specific challenge period is designated in the Kentucky Statutes.[12]

A candidate may only run for one office at a time, as his or her name cannot appear on the ballot more than once.[13]

All candidates are subject to filing fees. These fees are outlined in the table below. The Kentucky Secretary of State accepts personal checks, campaign account checks, cash or money orders for payment of filing fees.[1][14][15]

Office sought Filing fee
Member of the United States Congress $500.00
Governor of Kentucky $500.00
Kentucky Attorney General $500.00
Kentucky Secretary of State $500.00
Kentucky Auditor $500.00
Kentucky Treasurer $500.00
Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture $500.00
Kentucky Senator $200.00
Kentucky Representative $200.00