How to Become a Candidate

Qualifying Petitions

To start the process of becoming a candidate, the person must:

  • Pick up a qualifying petition at our office no more than 90 days before the qualifying deadline. Someone other than the candidate is allowed to pick up the petition, but the election commission must fill out who it is for.
  • Obtain at least 25 valid signatures of registered voters in the district that you are running in.
  • If appointing a political treasurer- you must complete the necessary paperwork. The candidate may appoint himself/herself as Treasurer.
  • Complete the Statement of Interest (i.e.the Conflict of Interest Statement)

Valid Signature Requirements

A valid signature can only be obtained from a registered voter who meets the following criteria:

  • A citizen of the United States
  • A resident of the State of Tennessee
  • 18 years old by the day of the election
  • A non-felon, or one who has had their voting rights restored
  • The signer must give his/her residence address. P.O. Boxes will not be counted as valid.
  • The signer must sign for themselves.
  • The signer must print his/her name and provide the residence address and sign where indicated.
  • The signer must reside in the city or district the candidate is representing.
  • The address of the signer must match the residential address on file with the Election Commission office.

Withdrawing from the Race

If a candidate wishes to withdraw his/her petition, he/she must do so in writing to the election commission office. The petition must be obtained by the election commission office no later than the seventh day after the qualifying deadline by 12:00 noon. However, a candidate cannot have his/her name removed from the ballot once the withdrawal deadline has passed.


Write-in Candidates

There are no qualifications for a write-in candidate, so anyone can be written in. However, their name will not be placed on the ballot unless they receive at least 25 votes. If there are no candidates listed on the ballot in the primary election, the candidate must receive at least 5% of the votes cast in the primary on election day. For more information, please contact the Election Commission at (731) 989-4039.

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