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Running for Office

Filing Dates and Deadlines for Candidates

Click above to view a comprehensive list of dates and deadlines to file to run for public office.


Steps to Run for Office

  1. Determine Position and Requirements
    Determine the position in which you are interested and its filing requirements; then, obtain the necessary documents from your local or county clerk, or the State Bureau of Elections.
    1. All candidates must complete an Affidavit of Identity.
    2. Candidates for any office may submit an appropriate petition with the correct number of signatures to appear on the ballot.  See How to Obtain a Nominating Signature Petition below for specific information.  Note that Precinct Delegates are not required to submit petitions.
    3. Candidates for certain positions may file a $100 fee in lieu of petitions.  See How to Obtain a Nominating Signature Petition below for information on which positions qualify for this option.
  1. File With Official
    File the Affidavit of Identity along with your petitions or fee with the appropriate filing official by the filing deadline. 
    1. The Candidate Filing Locations chart below outlines the correct filing official for each candidate.
    2. Deadlines for each election can be found at the Michigan Secretary of State's Website  or by contacting your local or county clerk.  Note that filing in advance of the deadline can be advantageous as it allows time for the filing official to contact you should you not have the minimum number of valid signatures on your petitions.  Additional filings may then be made until the filing deadline.
  1. Campaign Finance Filing
    File campaign finance materials with the appropriate filing official.
    1. For campaign finance purposes, you officially become a candidate if you:
      1. File an Affidavit of Identity, fee, or petition
      2. Spend or receive any funds to further your nomination or election to office, or give someone else permission to do so on your behalf
      3. Are nominated at a party convention or caucus
    2. Once you become a candidate, you have 10 calendar days to form a Candidate Committee.  An additional 10 calendar days are allowed to file this information with your campaign finance filing official.
    3. See the Candidate Filing Locations chart below to determine your campaign finance filing official.  Note that it may not be the same filing official with whom you filed your Affidavit of Identity.
    4. All candidates must file campaign finance materials and create a Candidate Committee except for the following:
      1. Precinct Delegate candidates do not file any campaign finance materials
      2. School Board candidates in a school district with a pupil enrollment of less than 2,400 do not need to file campaign finance materials unless they spend or receive in excess of $1000

  2. Write-In Filing
    Should you choose to run as a write-in candidate, see Write-In Candidates below for more details.
    1. The same campaign finance filing requirements apply to write-in candidates as all other candidates.

 If you have any questions regarding running for office, please contact the Elections Division at 734-222-6730.

    How to Obtain a Nominating Signature Petition

    Nominating petitions are available from election officials on the county and local levels.  The type of petition needed depends on the office sought and party affiliation.  Michigan Election Law determines the format of the petitions candidates use when collecting signatures (P.A. 116 Section 168.544c).  Candidates can determine the number of signatures required on a nominating petition by contacting the filing official.  Candidates may make photo copies of the petition provided the copies are exactly the same as the original petitions.  Candidates who are affiliated with political parties that are running for the offices of state senator, state representative or any county offices may file a $100.00 fee instead of filing a nominating petition.   Persons wishing to run with no party affiliation must file qualifying petitions and may not file a fee.  Any school board candidate may file the $100.00 fee, regardless of party affiliation.   


    Candidate Filing Locations

    U.S. Senate State State
    U.S. Congressional State State
    Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Board of Education, U of M Regent, MSU Trustees, Wayne SU Governors, Justice of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Circuit Court and District Court State State
    Probate Court County State
    State Senate 18th District County State
    State Senate 22nd District State State
    State Representative Districts 52, 53, 54 & 55
    County State
    County Clerk/Register, Treasurer, Sheriff, Prosecuting Attorney and Water Resources Commissioner County County
    County Commissioners County County
    City/Township Office (Mayor, Supervisor, Treasurer, Clerk, Council, Trustees, Constables, Park Commissioners and Township Library Trustees*) Appropriate City/Township Clerk County
    Village of Manchester (President, Clerk, Treasurer, Trustee) Manchester Township Clerk County
    Village of Barton Hills (President, Clerk, Treasurer, Trustee) Ann Arbor Township Clerk
    School Board Members and Ann Arbor District Library Trustees County Clerk County - Candidates in a school district with a pupil enrollment of less the 2,400 do not need to file Campaign Finance unless they spend or receive in excess of $1000
    Salem-South Lyon District Library* Oakland County Clerk Oakland County Clerk
    Ypsilanti District Library* County Clerk County
    Washtenaw Community College Trustee County Clerk County
    Precinct Delegate County Clerk
    Do Not File Campaign Finance
    WRITE-IN for Precinct Delegate
    Appropriate City or Township Clerk
    Do Not File Campaign Finance

    It is extremely important to return candidate and campaign finance filings to the correct filing official.

    * Remember that Township and District Libraries are different: a district library consists of more than one township where as a township library is solely in one township.


    Write-In Candidates

    In order to become a valid write-in candidate, an individual must file a Declaration of Intent with the appropriate filling official by 4 p.m. on the Friday preceding the election.

    In order to become a valid write-in Precinct Delegate Candidate, an individual must file a Declaration of Intent with their city or township clerk  by 4 p.m. on the Friday preceding the election or at their precinct before the close of polls at 8 p.m on election day.

    In the event that a candidate appearing on the ballot dies or is disqualified on or after the Wednesday directly preceding the election the Declaration of Intent is waived. Under these circumstances, all write-in votes cast will be counted.

    The Declaration of Intent form is available from the Washtenaw County Clerk's Office.

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