Candidate Filing Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
I’ve decided to run for office, what do I do now?
- First, find out who your filing office is and where they are located. Not all candidates file at the County Elections office. It depends on which elected position you’re interested in.
- Pull a candidate packet. The packet contains all the forms and information you need to run for office. See also: Where are candidate materials available? (below)
- Register your committee (if applicable) by filing a Statement of Organization. You can form a committee at any time. For more information see A.R.S. §16-905. If you spend or collect, in aggregate, more than $1,100, you must file a Statement of Organization. You are then required to file Quarterly and Pre-Election Campaign Finance Reports through the Election, and once more when the committee terminates. See also: Campaign Contributions and Campaign Finance Reporting Periods.
- Circulate your petitions and gather signatures.
- File your paperwork with the appropriate filing office.
Where are candidate materials available?
County packets that include nomination papers, petitions, signature requirements, filing instructions, campaign finance and financial disclosure forms and instructions are available at 168 S. Main St., Coolidge, AZ 85128 or here Candidate Filing Information.
Who is a registered voter?
A resident of the State of Arizona who has completed and submitted a voter registration to a County Recorder, is a citizen of the United States, will be 18 years old or more on or before the date of the regular general election, who will have been a resident of the state 29 days preceding the next election, is able to write his name or make his mark, unless prevented from doing so by a physical disability, has not been convicted of treason or a felony, unless restored to civil rights, and has not been adjudicated an incapacitated person.
Who is a qualified elector?
A person who is a resident within the boundaries of the district, precinct, or area for which the election is being conducted and whose voter registration has been received by the Pinal County Recorder prior to midnight of the 29th day preceding the date of the election.
Must I be a qualified elector in the jurisdiction that I wish to represent?
Yes. “…A candidate for public office shall be a qualified elector at the time of filing and shall reside in the county, district or precinct which the person proposes to represent.” Arizona Revised Statutes §16-311(A)
Must I be a qualified elector of the party that I wish represent?
Yes. “Any person desiring to become a candidate at a primary election for a political party and to have the person’s name printed on the official ballot shall be a qualified elector of such party…” Arizona Revised Statutes §16-311(A)
How do I run as a write-in candidate?
Write-in candidates are not required to gather signatures to qualify for the ballot. However, Write-in candidates are still required to form a committee (if applicable), file a Nomination Paper and a Financial Disclosure Statement (if applicable). Only candidates who file before the deadline will be considered “official write-in candidates.” Only official write-in candidates will have their names posted in the polling places and have any votes cast for them counted. A list of write-in candidates is not sent with the early or vote by mail ballots and it is up to the candidates to advertise their candidacy.
Write-in Candidate Filing Deadlines
- County office – 40 days prior to the election.
- Special District board or Precinct Committeemen – 76 days prior to the election.
How do I run as an “Independent” candidate?
“Independent” describes any candidate that is not registered to vote with one of the major (recognized) political parties. Pinal County currently recognizes the Democratic and Republican parties. Independent candidates do not run in the Primary Election, but will instead appear on the General Election ballot. However, the filing deadline for Nomination Papers and Petitions is the same as the candidates who are running in the Primary. The procedures for running as an Independent candidate are the same as those for candidates registered with a political party, except that Independent candidates file slightly different petitions and nomination paperwork.
To be candidate for Pinal County office in the primary election, must I be a registered member of either the Democrat Party or the Republican Party?
Yes. The political parties that are recognized for Pinal County office this year, and, therefore entitled to representation on the County primary ballot, are the Democrat Party and the Republican Party. “Each county recorder shall determine the political parties qualified for the county ballot…” Arizona Revised Statutes §16-804(D)
Can I run for Pinal County office if I am not a qualified elector of the Democrat Party or the Republican Party?
Yes. “Any qualified elector who is not a registered member of a political party that is recognized pursuant to this title may be nominated as a candidate for public office other than by primary election…” Arizona Revised Statutes §16-341(A)
If I am an Independent, can I be a Precinct Committeemen?
No. You must be registered to vote with one of the political parties recognized in the State to be a Precinct Committee Person for the party.
What is the difference between a Financial Disclosure Statement and Campaign Finance Reports?
A Financial Disclosure Statement is a report of your personal finances, and is filed at the same time as your Nomination Paper and Petitions. Special District candidates do not have to file Financial Disclosure Statements. County Elected Officials also file an annual financial disclosure with the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors.
Campaign Finance Reports track all the money that a committee has collected and spent. Campaign Finance Reports are filed several times during the year, and cover specific periods of time. All committees who file a Statement of Organization, including Special District candidates are responsible for filing Campaign Finance Reports. Campaign Finance Reports are required until you file a Termination Statement to close your committee.
Fines may apply if these forms are not filed timely.
NOTE: Precinct Committeemen do not form committees, file Financial Disclosure Statements or Campaign Finance Reports.
Where can I circulate petitions?
Petitions can be circulated to (1) any registered voter who is a member of your political party or to (2) Independents or Party Not Designated registered voters, who live within the confines of the jurisdiction covering the office for which you intend to run.
How do I challenge a candidate?
To challenge a candidate, you must file a challenge petition in court no later than 5:00 p.m. on the 10th business day after the candidate Nomination Petition submission deadline. The challenge petition must specifically list the reasons for the challenge if signatures on a candidate’s Nomination Petitions are being challenged, the challenge must specifically identify the Nomination Petition page and line number for each signature being challenged, and the reasons why the signatures are being challenged. For more information see A.R.S §16-351 and 16-351.01.
Any candidate in any election can be challenged by any registered voter.
If you want to look at another candidate’s petitions and do not want copies, you can do so under direct supervision of Elections Department staff, but you cannot use this option if you want to check the signatures against the Voter Registration records. You must still submit a public records request to schedule the appointment for review.
When do I file my petitions?
Petitions are filed between 120 and 90 days before the election.
*Independent* candidates (not registered with one of the political parties recognized in Pinal County) do not run in the Primary Election, but are still required to file their Nomination Paper and Petitions at the same time as candidates who are running in the Primary.
Who can sign my petitions?
Signatures must be obtained from qualified electors who are eligible to vote for the candidate whose nomination petition they are signing. If you are running for a County office, signers are registered in the district you are running for, registered with your same political party, or registered *Independents*. If you are running for a Special District, anyone registered to vote in your district can sign your petitions.