How to Run for Office Tip 1 – Rules to Remember about Getting on the Ballot

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Tips and Tricks that will Help Give You a Competitive Edge.

Tip 1. Know the Rules about Getting on the Ballot.

Once you’ve decided you want to run, and what you want to run for, make sure you understand the rules about getting on the ballot. You can usually find them on line, through Google, or the Secretary of State, or the authority which has jurisdiction over the election.

Beware that some states make it very difficult. While in most you pay a small fee and you’re on the ballot, in others there are complicated signature requirements that can trip even veteran candidates.

Isn’t this obvious and elementary? Well. Yes.

Except that even seasoned candidates sometimes ignore this simple admonition.

Recently there was a story about four Presidential candidates who did not make the ballot in Virginia. They did not file the required number of signatures.

There was another whose delegates did not file correctly in Illinois. As a result, no matter how well he does he’ll only be eligible to win one delegate of the 54.

And my favorite story is about the veteran member of Congress who was thrown off the ballot because she failed to put page numbers on her petitions. She fought her way back on thanks to a protracted court battle that cost her $50,000 in legal fees.

Remember, the rules which determine who can run and what they must do to run are written by incumbents. And the ugly truth is they are often designed to keep challengers off the ballot.

Make sure you understand the rules, the requirements and that you put in place a plan to comply with them.

Don’t cut corners. I’ve seen people who falsely witnessed signatures or fabricated petitions go to jail. I’ve seen lawyers who did that lose their law license.

And please be sure to visit the training tools page where you can download my free video and ebook on how to get your campaign off to a great start.


Political consultant Jay Townsend works with smart, passionate candidates who want to run for office, win elections and make a difference. He has successfully helped candidates learn how to run for the U.S. Senate, how to run for Congress, how to run for Mayor and develop a winning campaign marketing strategy.

How to win an election:

Running for office and knowing how to win an election is a challenge, especially for first time political candidates just learning how to run for office. Discerning the fine points of how to campaign, raise political contributions, and execute a political campaign strategy often requires the help of someone who has served as a political strategist or who has experience as a political consultant.

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