As we draw closer to the beginning of official filing periods, we want to make sure you are familiar with the rules of candidate nomination petitions in 2015 – how to file, what to file, and when to file. The content that follows is a summary of the requirements for filing and some of the rules each candidate should follow when circulating candidate nomination petitions.
We also want to make candidates aware that we’ve updated the election calendar with all official events and filing deadlines. In addition, we’ve listed some important information below in an effort to help you complete the Candidate’s Affidavit and the documents that go along with it. These items are essential to complete if you want to get on the ballot, and you MUST ensure they are filled out correctly.
One of the best resources you can find is the Running for Office document given out by Allegheny County. In it, you’ll learn all the important dates, definitions, and requirements for candidate nomination petitions. It also lists links and other resources to petition forms, filing fees, and other requirements you may have for your particular office.
Getting on the Ballot
To get on the ballot you need 4 things:
- A Completed and Notarized Candidate’s Affidavit
- A Candidate Nomination Petition with the required number of signatures
- A copy of your Statement of Financial Interests. The original must be filed in the office of the State Ethics Commission by the deadline to file nomination petitions
- A Cashier’s Check or Money Order payable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
The sections below address each of these 4 items in more detail.
Candidate Nomination Petitions and Candidate’s Affidavit
The first day to file and circulate nomination papers is Tuesday February 17th, 2015. By that date, you should have already generated your Candidate’s Affidavit. To do so, visit the PA Department of State Candidate Petition form Webpage to fill out a form online.
You’ll be required to fill in personal information and information about the office you seek. If you’re not sure how to fill out this form, please follow the official instructions for the candidate affidavit.
The important points to follow are these:
- You cannot use a PO BOX for your residential address. You must provide a street name and
- Your municipality is the city, borough or township in which you actually reside. For example, if
you live in a city that has boroughs or townships, you would enter the borough or township not
the city. Your address may be Pittsburgh but you reside in Mt. Lebanon. You would
enter Mt. Lebanon as the municipality.
- The appropriate ward, district or precinct for your residence is printed on your voter registration
card. Failure to answer this question correctly could result in a rejection or challenge. If you
have any questions, contact your county election office. If you live in Mt. Lebanon and do not know your ward, you can use our Ward Locator.
- If you wish to have correspondence sent to an address other than your residential address, then
please complete the MAILING ADDRESS field. This address may include a PO BOX. You may see this field on the second page of the online form.
- Please complete the section titled, NAME AS IT IS TO APPEAR ON BALLOT. This is what will show on your forms as well. Please note: no titles may be used such as Dr., Esq., Rev., etc.
- REMEMBER TO HAVE YOUR AFFIDAVIT NOTARIZED PRIOR TO FILING YOUR PAPERWORK. The Mt. Lebanon Democratic Committee has arranged for a notary to be present on Saturday March 7, 2015 at the Galleria on Washington in Mt. Lebanon. For more information on the times she will be available visit out event calendar for the notary event.
Once you complete the requested information you’ll be able to view the petition, which will download automatically to your computer in PDF format. The petition will have the information you listed on the form along with the county or ward and district signature sheets you require. Make sure you keep a copy of this original file on your computer in case you need to print multiple copies later.
Getting Signatures on the Candidate Nominating Petitions
The number of signatures required depends on the office you seek. Elective office requirements were last updated in 2013 and are listed on the Allegheny County Website under the Elective Office Requirements Document. This document lists the number of signatures needed for each office and also the filing fee required.
Allegheny County also makes a signature and fee sheet available for county and local offices only.
Circulating The Petition
The person circulating the candidate nomination petitions must adhere to official rules set forth in either document linked to above – the Elective Office Requirements or the Allegheny County petition instructions. These documents outline not only the signature requirements and filing fees, but also the rules that signers and circulators must follow. This includes things like residency requirements for signers and circulators, and many more items.
Please familiarize yourself with those documents BEFORE circulating your petitions. Failure to adhere to the rules could result in your petitions being invalidated.
Rules for Petition Circulators
There are 7 main rules the circulator must file to ensure the signatures collected remain valid:
- Each signer may sign petitions for as many candidates for each office as he is permitted to vote for, and no more.
- Each signer must personally insert the information concerning Printed Name, Residence and Date of Signing. The date of signing may be expressed in words or numbers, i.e., February 17, 2015 or 2/17/2015. Do not use “Ditto” marks.
- Each signer must sign their name and insert their address exactly as it appears on their permanent registration record.
- Make certain that each signer of a petition is a registered and enrolled member of the party referred to in the petition.
- The individual who executes the circulator’s affidavit shall be present when each elector signs his or her name to the petition.
- Do not attempt to execute the circulator’s affidavit until the petition is fully signed and completed.
- Candidates are reminded that their petitions may ONLY be circulated by a registered voter of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and an enrolled member of the political party referred to in the petition.
* Special Note for Magisterial District Judge Candidates regarding circulation rules:
Rules for Signers (Electors)
There are only 6 columns that need to be filled in by each signer, also called “elector” on the petitions, but be very careful here, as a mistake could invalidate that signature. Get more than you need in an effort to hedge against bad signatures or challenges to your petition.
Signers need to fill out the following information:
- Signature of elector – this is the signers signature
- Printed name of elector – this is the signers printed name. Please make sure it is clear and legible
- House number – this is just the number of the signer’s house – not the street name also. For example, if the signer lives at 125 Main Street in Mt. Lebanon here she’d write – 125. That’s it.
- Place of Residence (Street or Road) – this is the street name. The signer would write in this area just the street name, not the number. Using the same example above, she’d write – Main St.
- Municipality – this is the municipality, village or borough of the signer. Again, using our previous example, the signer would write Mt. Lebanon here. Even if her address were 125 Main Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15528 – she’d write the municipality in which she lives – Mt. Lebanon.
- Date of signing – this is the date which the signer signed the form. It must not be before February 17, 2015 – the first day to circulate petitions. Make sure to enter a full date like this: 02/18/2015.
Do not take shortcuts here. Fill out the first line with your own information on it, or the information of the person circulating your form for you, so that those who come after you know how to fill it out. Remind them while they sign, and tell them to take their time. Illegible entries will be discounted.
Statement of Financial Interests
The statement of financial interests (SEC-1) is the third required document you’ll file with your candidate nomination papers. The statement of financial interests is obtained from and filed with the State Ethics Commission. To obtain a copy of the form you can visit the current forms section of the State Ethics Commission. That link, and all the forms therein, can change at any time. The current form can be downloaded via the Statement of Financial Interests 2015 PDF form.
Please consult with your treasurer, an experienced campaign manager, and/or the Ethics Commission on the correct way to fill out this form. It reads like a tax document and has more lines of instruction that we can print here.
Candidate Filing Fee
The final requirement for filing of the candidate nomination petitions is to pay the filing fee. The official documents state the fee can be paid via a cashier’s check or money order payable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Please plan ahead to obtain the proper form of payment. Cashier’s checks and money orders are relatively easy to obtain through any post office, most banks, and some local money changing offices as well. Even certain AAA offices offer that service for a small fee.
The filing fee is based on the office you seek. Again, you can find the relevant offices and associated fees in the Elective Office Requirements Document or the Allegheny County Version, which deals only with County offices.
If you’ve made it this far – congratulations! Be sure and double-check your candidate nomination papers before they’re notarized. Remember, the Mt. Lebanon Democratic Committee has arranged for a notary to notarize your petitions on Saturday March 7 at the Galleria in Mt. Lebanon.
The last thing you want to do is have to go back and ask signers to sign the document twice because you made a mistake the first time. If you have any questions at all, contact the local election office or your local democratic committee for help.
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