Ballot access requirements for political candidates in Maryland

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See also
This page compiles the various ballot access requirements for candidates running for elected office in the state of Maryland. 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 Maryland. 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: Maryland elections, 2014

Maryland will have a primary election on June 24, 2014 and a general election on November 4, 2014. Voters will elect candidates to serve in the following state and federal offices:

The 2014 filing deadline for candidates seeking a political party's nomination by running in the state primary is February 25, 2014. Third party candidates must also file a declaration of intent on that date. The filing deadline for third party candidates is August 4, 2014. The deadline to qualify as a political party in time for the 2014 elections is August 4, 2014.[1]

Deadline Event
February 25, 2014 Filing deadline for candidates seeking nomination by a political party. Non major-party candidates must file declaration of intent.
August 4, 2014 Filing deadline for non major-party candidates.
June 24, 2014 State primary date
November 4, 2014 General election

Political parties

See also: List of political parties in the United States

As of November 2013, there are four recognized political parties in Maryland.[2] A candidate who is not affiliated with a political party or partisan organization (defined as a "combination of two or more individuals formed for the purpose of organizing a new political party") will appear on the ballot as "unaffiliated." A candidate who is affiliated with a partisan organization will bear the designation "other candidate."[3][4]

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

Process to establish a political party

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Election Law, Title 4, Subtitle 1, Section 102 of the Annotated Code of Maryland

Any group of registered voters may form a new political party by submitting a petition. The petition must state the following:[5][6]

  • The name of the aspirant party
  • The name, contact information and signature of the state chairman (i.e., sponsor) of the aspirant party
  • The names and addresses of 25 registered voters (including the state chairman) who will constitute the initial governing body of the party

Within a two-year period beginning on the date the first signature is made to the petition and ending on the date the last signature is made to the petition, supporters must collect 10,000 signatures from eligible voters. Petitions for the formation of a new political party may be filed in presidential, gubernatorial, or special election years.[5][6]

Maryland law separates political parties into two separate categories: principal and non-principal parties. Principal parties include the majority party, which is the party whose candidate for Governor received the largest number of votes of any party candidate at the most recent general election, and the principal minority party, which is the party whose candidate for Governor received the second highest number of votes of any party candidate at the most recent general election.[7] All other parties are considered non-principal political parties. Principal parties are required to nominate candidates for office via primary elections.[8] Non-principal parties may select candidates according to their respective constitutions and bylaws, but cannot participate in primaries.[5]

Procedural requirements

The state chairman designated in the new party's formation petition must convene an organizational meeting within 90 days after filing the petition. At this meeting, the individuals designated as the initial governing body of the new party must adopt a constitution and bylaws.[5] The constitution and bylaws must provide for the following:[9]

  • Selection of a state governing body
  • Calling of regular meetings, notification of meetings, and special notice for special meetings
  • Establishment of a quorum
  • Method of amending the party's constitution or bylaws
  • Procedures for filling a vacancy in a nomination for public office
  • Procedures for determining which of two or more party members who qualify for nomination in the same contest will be designated on the ballot as nominees of the party
  • Adoption of rules governing the political party

Within 30 days of adopting or amending the constitution, bylaws or rules, a party must file a current copy with the State Board of Elections.[9]

Maintaining party status

A newly qualified political party will retain its status as a political party until December 31 of the year of the second statewide general election following the party's initial qualification. Thereafter, the political party can only retain its status by meeting either of the following requirements:[10]

  • The party must nominate a candidate for the highest office on the ballot in a statewide general election and the candidate must yield at least one percent of the total vote for that office. By doing so, the party will retain its status until December 31 in the year of the next following general election.
  • The party must demonstrate that, as of December 31 each year, at least one percent of the state's registered voters are affiliated with the party. By doing so, the party will retain its status until December 31 of the next year.

In the event that a party loses qualified status, it can only regain qualified status by petitioning again for recognition.[10]

Process to become a candidate

Figure 1: This is the Certificate of Nomination or Designation for the state of Maryland.
Quick facts about Lieutenant Governors
  • 45 states have Lt. governors, 43 of them fill the office by election
  • 21 states, including Maryland, 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 elect Lt. governors separately from the Governor

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Election Law, Title 5 of the Annotated Code of Maryland

For principal party candidates

Federal, statewide and state legislative candidates seeking the nomination of a principal political party in a primary election must submit to the State Board of Elections a certificate of candidacy, which notes the office being sought, the year of the election, the name and address of the candidate, and includes a statement verifying that the candidate satisfies the legal requirements for candidacy for the office being sought. Statewide and state legislative candidates must also submit a financial disclosure form to the State Ethics Commission.[11][12]

Principal party candidates must pay a filing fee. Fees vary according to the office sought and are established by statute:[13]

Office Fee
Governor, Lieutenant Governor, U.S. Senator, Comptroller of the Treasury, Attorney General $290
U.S. Representative $100
Member of the General Assembly $50
Maryland State Central Committee $10

All required forms, and the filing fee, must be submitted to the appropriate office by 9:00 p.m. on the last Tuesday in February of the election year. It should be noted that Certificates of Candidacy must be submitted in person (or by certified mail, personal messenger, or other delivery service if the candidate is unable to file in person due to illness, military service, or temporary absence from the state).[11][14]

For non-principal party candidates

Non-principal party candidates file paperwork in two phases. First, a candidate must submit a declaration of intent to the State Board of Elections. This form must be filed by the last Tuesday in February of the election year. A filing fee does not have to be paid at this time.[11][15]

By 5:00 p.m. on the first Monday in August of the election year, the candidate must submit to the State Board of Elections a certificate of nomination signed by the officers of the candidate's party (non-principal parties may determine the methods by which they nominate candidates). The candidate must also submit at this time the same financial disclosure form as principal party candidates. Non-principal party candidates must likewise pay the same filing fees as principal party candidates.[11][15]

For independent candidates

Independent candidates file paperwork in two phases. First, a candidate must submit a declaration of intent to the State Board of Elections. This form must be filed by the last Tuesday in February of the election year.[11][16]

By 5:00 p.m. on the first Monday in August of the election year, the candidate must submit a certificate of candidacy to the State Board of Elections and a financial disclosure form to the State Ethics Commission (the same as those filed by party candidates). The candidate must also submit to the State Board of Elections a petition signed by at least one percent of registered voters who are eligible to vote for the office being sought. At least 250 registered voters must sign the petition, even if this number is greater than the one percent of registered voters eligible to vote for the office being sought.[11][16] Examples of required signature totals are presented in the table below.

Office 1% of registered voters eligible to vote for the office[17] The greater of 1% of registered voters or 250
Governor
U.S. Senator
Other statewide executive office
39,564 39,564
U.S. House District 1 4,989 4,989
State House District 1A 272 272
State House District 38B 242 250

Independent candidates must also pay the same filing fee as party candidates.[13]

For write-in candidates

Write-in candidates for either the primary or general elections who intend to have their votes tallied must file a certificate of candidacy and a financial disclosure form (the same as those required of all other candidates). The deadline for filing these materials with the appropriate office is the earlier of the following:[14]

  • Seven days after a total expenditure of at least $51 is made to the promote the candidacy by the candidate's campaign finance entity
  • 5:00 p.m. on the Wednesday preceding the day of the election

Campaign finance

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Election Law, Title 13 of the Annotated Code of Maryland

Campaign finance requirements

Before a candidate files a certificate of candidacy, he or she must establish an authorized candidate campaign committee by filing a Statement of Organization with the State Board of Elections. Candidates must file this form regardless of whether they intend to engage in any campaign finance activity.[18][19]

Candidates must appoint a chairman and treasurer of the campaign committee.[20] These officers are responsible for filing all campaign finance reports and for all other committee activities.[21] A candidate cannot serve as his or her committee's own treasurer, but may serve as the chairman.[22][19]

Generally speaking, the treasurer is responsible for the receipt and disbursement of all campaign funds. Further, the treasurer is ultimately responsible for the committee's compliance with campaign finance laws.[23] Although, as noted above, the committee chairman shares responsibility with the treasurer for filing campaign finance reports and for other committee activities, no specific duties are assigned to the office.[19]

The committee must file regular campaign finance reports with the State Board of Elections. All reports must be filed electronically, either via electronic storage medium or via the Internet.[24] Reports must include information about the following:[25][19]

  • Receipts
    • Includes contributions, transfers, loans, and in-kind contributions; specific information about contributors, such as name, address, and amount of contribution, must be provided.
  • Expenditures
    • Specific information about payees, such as name, address, and amount disbursed, must be provided.
  • Outstanding obligations
    • Includes newly-received loans, repaid loans and unpaid loans; specific information about the loan, such as name and address of the creditor and the total amount of the loan, must be provided.

Reporting schedules vary according to the type of committee and the type of election year. Beginning in 2014, committees for Maryland state central committee candidates need only file a campaign finance report on the third Tuesday following the primary election date, in addition to the annual filing in January.[26] For reporting purposes, Maryland separates election years into three types: Baltimore city, presidential, and gubernatorial. All committees are required to file annual reports due the third Wednesday of January. Only presidential and gubernatorial election year reporting schedules are detailed below. [27][19]

Campaign finance report dates for gubernatorial elections
Report type Deadline to file
First pre-primary report 4th Tuesday before the primary election
Second pre-primary report 2nd Friday before the primary election
Pre-general report 2nd Friday before the general election
Post-general report 3rd Tuesday after the general election
Campaign finance report dates for presidential elections
Report type Deadline to file
Pre-primary report 2nd Friday before the primary election
Pre-general report 2nd Friday before the general election
Post-general report 3rd Tuesday after the general election

The following are the reporting periods and deadlines for 2014, which is a gubernatorial election year.[28]

Campaign finance report dates for 2014 elections
Report type Reporting period Deadline to file
2014 annual report From the day following the ending transaction period from the last report - January 8, 2014 January 15, 2014
Spring report** January 9, 2014 - April 8, 2014 April 15, 2014
Pre-primary report 1*** January 9, 2014 - May 20, 2014 May 27, 2014
Pre-primary report 2 May 21, 2014 - June 8, 2014 June 13, 2014
Pre-general report 1 June 9, 2014 - August 19, 2014 August 26, 2014
Central committee candidate report**** January 9, 2014 - July 8, 2014 July 15, 2014
Pre-general report 2 August 20, 2014 - October 19, 2014 October 24, 2014
Post-general report October 20, 2014 - November 18, 2014 November 25, 2014
2015 annual report November 19, 2014 - January 14, 2015 January 21, 2015
**This report is only required for new committees that were not required to file a 2014 annual report.[28]
***If the 2014 annual report was not required, the beginning date for the reporting period will be April 9, 2014.[28]
****Central committee candidates are no longer required to file any pre-primary or pre- or post-general reports.[28]

Contribution limits

In 2014, during an election cycle an individual cannot make aggregate contributions to any one campaign finance entity (candidate committee, etc.) in excess of $4,000; individuals cannot contribute in excess of $10,000 to all campaign finance entities. Beginning in 2015, these limits will rise to $6,000 and $24,000, respectively.[29]

Election-related agencies

See also: State election agencies

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

  • Maryland State Board of Elections [30]
Why: To submit candidate filing paperwork for state and federal offices
151 West Street, Suite 200
Annapolis, MD 21401"
Phone: 410-269-2840
Fax: 410-974-2019
Website: http://www.elections.state.md.us/
E-mail: info.sbe@maryland.gov
  • Maryland State Ethics Commission [31]
Why: To file required financial disclosure statement
45 Calvert Street, 3rd Floor
Annapolis, MD 21401
Phone: 410.260.7770
Fax: 410.260.7746
Website: http://www.maryland.gov/Pages/default.aspx
E-mail: Jennifer.Allgair@Maryland.gov
  • Maryland Secretary of State[32]
Secretary of State
16 Francis Street
Annapolis, MD 21401
Phone: 410-974-5521
Fax: 410-974-5190
Website: http://www.sos.state.md.us/
E-mail:mdsos@sos.state.md.us

Term limits

State executives

See also: Maryland state executive official elections, 2014
Portal:State Executive Officials
See also: State executives with term limits and States with gubernatorial term limits

The state executive term limits in Maryland are as follows:

  • The Governor is limited to two successive terms.
  • Lieutenant Governor may serve a total of two terms with the current governor. There is no specific limit on how many terms one may serve as lieutenant governor in Maryland.
  • Attorney General has no term limits.
  • Treasurer is elected by the General Assembly and has no term limits.
  • Comptroller is not subject to term limits.

The only state executive who is term-limited for 2014 is:

Name Party Office
Martin O'Malley Electiondot.png Democratic Governor

State legislators

See also: State legislatures with term limits

There are no term limits for Maryland state legislators.

Congressional partisanship

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

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

Congressional Partisan Breakdown from Maryland
Party U.S. Senate U.S. House Total
     Democratic Party 2 7 9
     Republican Party 0 1 1
TOTALS as of September 2014 2 8 10

State legislative partisanship

Portal:State legislatures

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

Senate

Party As of September 2014
     Democratic Party 35
     Republican Party 12
Total 47

House

Party As of September 2014
     Democratic Party 98
     Republican Party 43
Total 141

See also

External links

Forms

References

  1. Maryland Elections "Candidacy," accessed December 2, 2013
  2. Maryland State Board of Elections Website "Candidacy Introduction," accessed November 2013
  3. Election Law "Title 1, Section 101," accessed December 5, 2013
  4. Election Law "Title 9, Section 210," accessed December 5, 2013
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Annotated Code of Maryland, "Election Law, Title 4, Subtitle 1, Section 102," accessed February 11, 2014
  6. 6.0 6.1 Maryland State Board of Elections, "Information Page for a New Political Party Petition," accessed February 11, 2014
  7. Annotated Code of Maryland, "Election Law, Title 1, Subtitle 1, Section 101," accessed February 11, 2014
  8. Annotated Code of Maryland, "Election Law, Title 8, Subtitle 2, Section 202," accessed February 11, 2014
  9. 9.0 9.1 Annotated Code of Maryland, "Election Law, Title 4, Subtitle 2, Section 204," accessed February 11, 2014
  10. 10.0 10.1 Annotated Code of Maryland, "Election Law, Title 4, Subtitle 1, Section 103," accessed February 11, 2014
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 Annotated Code of Maryland, "Election Law, Title 5, Subtitle 3, Section 304," accessed February 12, 2014
  12. Maryland State Ethics Commission, "State Employees/Officials," accessed February 12, 2014
  13. 13.0 13.1 Annotated Code of Maryland, "Election Law, Title 5, Subtitle 4, Section 401," accessed February 12, 2014
  14. 14.0 14.1 Annotated Code of Maryland, "Election Law, Title 5, Subtitle 3, Section 303," accessed February 12, 2014
  15. 15.0 15.1 Annotated Code of Maryland, "Election Law, Title 5, Subtitle 7, Section 703.1," accessed February 12, 2014
  16. 16.0 16.1 Annotated Code of Maryland, "Election Law, Title 5, Subtitle 7, Section 703," accessed February 12, 2014
  17. Maryland State Board of Elections, "District Voter Counts Report," January 2, 2014
  18. Annotated Code of Maryland, "Election Law, Title 13, Subtitle 2, Section 202," accessed February 10, 2014
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 Maryland State Board of Elections, "Summary Guide: Maryland Candidacy and Campaign Finance Laws," accessed February 12, 2014
  20. Annotated Code of Maryland, "Election Law, Title 13, Subtitle 2, Section 207," accessed February 12, 2014
  21. Annotated Code of Maryland, "Election Law, Title 13, Subtitle 2, Section 214," accessed February 12, 2014
  22. Annotated Code of Maryland, "Election Law, Title 13, Subtitle 2, Section 215," accessed February 12, 2014
  23. Annotated Code of Maryland, "Election Law, Title 13, Subtitle 2, Section 218," accessed February 12, 2014
  24. Annotated Code of Maryland, "Election Law, Title 13, Subtitle 3, Section 324," accessed February 12, 2014
  25. Annotated Code of Maryland, "Election Law, Title 13, Subtitle 3, Section 304," accessed February 12, 2014
  26. Maryland Election Law Article 13-309(d)
  27. Annotated Code of Maryland, "Election Law, Title 13, Subtitle 3, Section 309," accessed February 12, 2014
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 Maryland State Board of Elections, "Reporting Schedule," accessed February 12, 2014
  29. Annotated Code of Maryland, "Election Law, Title 13, Subtitle 2, Section 226," accessed February 12, 2014
  30. Maryland State Board of Elections
  31. Maryland State Ethics Commission
  32. Maryland Secretary of State