Ballot access requirements for political candidates in Kentucky

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See also
This page contains extensive information about ballot access requirements for state and federal candidates running for elected office in the state of Kentucky. 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 Kentucky. 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


See also: Kentucky elections, 2014

Kentucky will have a primary election on May 20, 2014 and a general election on November 4, 2014. Voters will elect candidates to serve in the following state and federal offices:

The filing deadline for candidates running in the primary election is January 28, 2014. Independent, political group and political organization candidates must file by April 1, 2014. Write-in candidates must file by October 24, 2014.[1]

Deadline Event
January 28, 2014 Filing deadline for primary election candidates
April 1, 2014 Filing deadline for independent, political group and political organization candidates
May 20, 2014 Primary election date
October 24, 2014 Filing deadline for write-in candidates
November 4, 2014 General election

Political parties

See also: List of political parties in the United States

As of November 2013, Kentucky officially recognizes two political parties.[2] A political party in Kentucky is defined as a political entity whose candidate in the most recent presidential election received at least 20 percent of the vote.[3]

Party Website link By-laws/Platform link
Democratic Party by-laws
Republican Party platform

Voter registration plays an important role in accessing the ballot. Candidates must be registered with the political party, organization or group with which they will be running as of January 1 in the year of the election. This is also true for independent candidates. They must be registered as independent voters as of January 1 in the year of the election. Because of this, registered independent voters cannot run as a political party candidate and vice versa.[4][5] In Kentucky, the term "Independent" is used to define candidates or voters who are not affiliated with any political party, organization or group.[6]

Process to establish a political party

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

In Kentucky, no paperwork is required to establish a political party.[7] Instead, political entities are distinguished by the number of votes their candidates receive in the general election. The state recognizes three types of political entities: political parties, political organizations, and political groups.[8] Each political entity is allowed to get candidates on the ballot in different ways. For specific information on this process, see "Process to become a candidate" below.

Political parties

  • Their candidate in the most recent presidential election received at least 20 percent of the votes cast.[8]
  • They are required to nominate their candidates by primary election.[9]

Political organizations

  • Their candidate missed the necessary 20 percent of votes to be a political party but received at least two percent of the votes cast in the most recent presidential election.[8]
  • They are allowed to nominate their candidates by either primary election or convention. Candidates may also be nominated by petition.[10]

Political groups

  • Their candidate did not receive the two percent of votes required to be considered a political organization.[8]
  • They must nominate their candidates by petition.[11]

For an example of the number of votes required to be considered a political party or political organization, look to the table below.

Votes cast in 2012 presidential election Number of votes needed to be considered a political party Number of votes needed to be considered a political organization
1,797,212[12] 359,443 35,945

Election-related agencies

See also: State election agencies

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

Office of the Secretary of State, Office of Elections:

Why: Oversees candidate filing and election procedures.
700 Capital Ave., Ste. 148
Frankfort, KY 40601
Telephone: (502) 564-3490
Fax: (502) 564-5687

Kentucky Registry of Election Finance:

Why: Tracks and reviews financial activities of campaigns and investigates violations to campaign laws.
140 Walnut Street
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601-3240
Telephone: (502) 573-2226
Fax: 502.573.5622

Term limits

Kentucky state executives are term limited. These limits were established by Amendment 2, which was passed by voters in 1992. It amended Section 71 and Section 93 of the Kentucky Constitution.

State executives

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

The state executive term limits in Kentucky are as follows:[13][14]

As there are no state executive offices up for election in Kentucky in 2014, none are affected by term limits.

State legislators

See also: State legislatures with term limits

Kentucky does not place term limits on state legislators.

Congressional partisanship

See also: List of United States Representatives from Kentucky and List of United States Senators from Kentucky

Here is the current partisan breakdown of the congressional members from Kentucky:

Congressional Partisan Breakdown from Kentucky
Party U.S. Senate U.S. House Total
     Democratic Party 0 1 1
     Republican Party 2 5 7
TOTALS as of December 2014 2 6 8

State legislative partisanship

Portal:State legislatures

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

State Senate

Party As of December 2014
     Democratic Party 14
     Republican Party 23
     Independent 1
Total 38

State house

Party As of December 2014
     Democratic Party 54
     Republican Party 46
Total 100

See also

Figure 1: This is a Notification and Declaration form for major party candidates running for election in Kentucky.

External links

Official state and federal links



Other information