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Filing requirements for congressional candidates

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This page contains information about the requirements for congressional candidates seeking ballot access in 1 of the 50 states.

Federal Requirements to run for congressional office

According to the Constitution of the United States,[1]

No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.[2]

These are the fundamental requirements for running for congressional office. There are also federal regulations concerning campaign finances, which must be reported to the Federal Election Commission.

Federal Election Commission

According to the FEC, an individual becomes a federal candidate and must begin to report their campaign finances once they have either raised or spent $5,000 in pursuit of the campaign. Within fifteen days of this benchmark for status as a candidate, the individual must register with the FEC and designate his or her official campaign committee to be responsible for the funds and expenditures of the campaign. This committee must have an official treasurer and cannot support any candidate but the one who registered the committee. Detailed financial reports are then made to the FEC every financial quarter after the individual is registered with the FEC. Reports are also made before primaries and before the general election.[3]

State requirements to run for congressional office

See also: Signatures needed for independent candidates to qualify for United States House of Representatives elections, 2014

States require the individual to establish him or herself as a candidate using two methods. The individual must either collect signatures of people who want him to be on the ballot or pay a fee for registration. In some cases, the state requires both a certain number of signatures and a fee.

  • Florida requires the most of its candidates: a major party candidate must pay $10,440 and collect 112,174 signatures to run for U.S. Senate and the same fee but only 2,298 signatures to run for the House.[4]
  • South Carolina also requires major party candidates to pay large fees but does not require signatures. To run for US Senate in South Carolina, the candidate must pay $10,440. To run for House, the fee is $3,480.[5]
  • Alaska requires individuals to pay a $100 filing fee, but candidates do not need any signatures.[6]
  • New Hampshire requires a major party candidate to pay $50 or collect 100 signatures to run for the House of Representatives.[7]

In many states, the political party is responsible for paying the filing fee for its candidate. A filing fee of 1% of the salary of an elected congressman, $1,740, is also common. The average of the state filing fees to run for the US House of Representatives is $1,465.

Requirement type by state

States requiring signatures

These 19 states require petition signatures for candidates to achieve ballot access in a congressional race.
These 19 states require fees for candidates to achieve ballot access in a congressional race.
These four states require fees for candidates to achieve ballot access in a congressional race.
These eight states require both fees and petition signatures for candidates to achieve ballot access in a congressional race.

States requiring fee

States requiring either signatures or a fee

States requiring both signatures and a fee

Filing requirements detailed by state

See also: Signature requirements and deadlines for 2012 U.S. Congress elections

The specific filing information is detailed below. Click [show] to expand the table.

See also


  1. National Archives, "The Constitution of the United States: A Transcription," accessed December 7, 2012
  2. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  3. Federal Election Commission, "Candidate Registration Brochure," accessed December 7, 2012
  4. Florida Division of elections, "2012 Qualifying information," accessed December 8, 2012
  5., "Filing Fees," accessed December 8, 2012
  6. Alaska Division of Elections, "Filing for Office," accessed December 8, 2012
  7. New Hampshire Secretary of State, "Filing for office," accessed December 8, 2012
  8. Alabama Secretary of State, "Candidate Guide," accessed December 8, 2011
  9. State of Alaska Division of Elections, "Political Party Candidates," accessed November 26, 2011
  10. Arizona Department of State: Office of the Secretary of State, "2010 Congressional Partisan Signature Requirements," accessed November 25, 2011
  11. Arkansas state board of election comissioners, "Running for public office: a "Plain English" handbook for candidates," accessed December 7, 2012
  12. United States Representative in Congress, "Summary of Qualifications and Requirements for Partisan Nomination," accessed November 27, 2011
  13. Colorado Secretary of State, "How to Run for Office," accessed November 26, 2011
  14. Connecticut Election Services, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed January 7, 2012
  15. State of Delaware: The Official Website of the First State, "Candidates for Federal Office," accessed November 26, 2011
  16. Florida Division of Elections, "2010 Qualifying Information," accessed November 26, 2011
  17. Legal Notice for Publication in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Qualifying Fees," accessed November 26, 2011
  18. Office of Elections: State of Hawaii, "Factsheet: Candidate Filing Process 2012 Elections," accessed November 26, 2011
  19. Idaho Secretary of State, "2012 Federal & State Candidate Filing Requirements," accessed February 8, 2012
  20. Illinois State Board of Elections, "2012 Candidates Guide," accessed November 26, 2011
  21. Indiana Secretary of State, "2012 Candidate Guide," accessed December 1, 2011
  22. Office of the Iowa Secretary of State, "Candidate's Guide to the Primary Election," accessed November 26, 2011
  23. Kansas Election Standards, "Chapter IV: Candidates," accessed November 26, 2011
  24. Kentucky State Board of Elections, "Candidate Qualifications and Filing Fees," accessed November 26, 2011
  25. Louisiana Secretary of State, "Fees/Nomination Petitions," accessed December 1, 2011
  26. State of Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, "State of Maine 2012 Candidate's Guide to Ballot Access," accessed November 26, 2011
  27. Maryland State Board of Elections, "Candidacy," accessed November 27, 2011
  28. Maryland Elections Division, "Candidacy Requirements," accessed January 7, 2012
  29. 29.0 29.1 Massachusetts Secretary of State, "Candidates Guide," accessed April 25, 2012
  30. Massachusetts Elections Division, "Election Schedule," accessed December 1, 2011
  31. State of Michigan Secretary of State Department of State, "Filing Requirements: U.S. Representative in Congress," accessed November 26, 2011
  32. Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, "Filing Fees," accessed November 27, 2011
  33. State of Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann Secretary of State, "2012 Candidate Qualifying Guide," accessed November 27, 2011
  34. Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, "Filing Information for Candidates," accessed November 27, 2011
  35. Secretary of State Linda McCulloch Elections and Government Services Division, "Offices and Filing Fees for the 2012 Ballot," accessed November 27, 2011
  36. Nebraska Secretary of State, "Filing Fee Schedule," accessed December 1, 2011
  37. State of Nevada Ross Miller Secretary of State, "Campaign Guide 2012," accessed November 27, 2011
  38. State of New Hampshire, "Filing for Office for State Primary," accessed November 27, 2011
  39. State of New Jersey Department of State Division of Elections, "Partisan Candidates," accessed November 27, 2011
  40. State of New Mexico Dianna J. Duran Secretary of State, "2012 Candidate Guide," accessed November 27, 2011
  41. New York State Election Board, "Running for Office," accessed December 1, 201
  42. North Carolina State Board of Elections, "Candidacy Filing Fees," accessed November 27, 2011
  43. Secretary of State Alvin A. Jaeger, "Running for U.S. Congress," accessed November 27, 2012
  44. Ohio Secretary of State, "2012 Ohio Candidate Requirement Guide," accessed December 1, 2011
  45. Oregon Secretary of State: Kate Brown, "Candidate's Manual," accessed November 27, 2011
  46. Pennsylvania Department of State, "Running for Office: Filing Fees and Signature Requirements," accessed December 1, 2011
  47. A. Ralph Mollis Secretary of State, "Rhode Island How to Run for Office: A guide for Candidates," accessed November 27, 2011
  48. South Carolina Votes, "Filing Fees," accessed November 2011
  49. South Dakota Secretary of State Jason M. Gant, "2012 Signature Requirements," accessed November 27, 2010
  50. U.S. House 2012, "Qualifying Procedures for Tennessee Candidates for United States House of Representatives," accessed November 27, 2011
  51. Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade, "Republican or Democratic Party Nominees," accessed November 27, 2011
  52. Utah Lieutenant Governor Elections, Becoming a Federal Candidate," accessed November 27, 2011
  53. Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos, "Elections and Campaign Finance Division," accessed November 27, 2011
  54. Virginia State Board of Elections, "Candidate Bulletins," accessed December 1, 2011
  55. Washington Secretary of State, "2012 Filing for Public Elective Office in Washington State," accessed November 27, 2011
  56. West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant, "Offices on the Ballot 2012," accessed November 27, 2011
  57. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "Ballot Access Checklist for 2012 Federal Candidates in Wisconsin," accessed November 27, 2011
  58. Wyoming Elections Division, "2012 Key Election Dates," accessed November 27, 2011