It is the candidate's responsibility to file a complete and accurate petition by the applicable deadline.
A candidate guide can be found at the Ohio Secretary of State's website.
What is a Petition?
A petition is a prescribed form that potential candidates will use to run for particular offices.
Most petitions have three main parts:
- Statement of candidacy
- Body of petition, which includes electors signatures
- Circulators Statement
Signatures and Fees
You will be required to obtain a prescribed amount of 'valid' elector signatures and pay a set filing fee.
Amount of signatures and filing fee varies based on office sought.
A 'valid' elector is a registered voter in the jurisdiction in which you are a candidate.
Statement of Candidacy
Name, address, and signature should match the candidate's voter registration on file with the Board of Elections.
Candidate's address MUST be a street address- NO P.O. Boxes!
State the office sought and term clearly.
Partisan candidate include party designation
Signed and dated by candidate prior to obtaining signatures
Fill in petition for candidate/ nominating petition section
Body of Petition
The circulator must witness every signature
The elector may only sign their name on the petition
The signature must match the signature on file with the Board of Elections
The elector's address should match the address on file with the Board of Elections (Street Addresses only!)
The date column must be filled- in with a valid date (same date or after the candidate signed the Statement of Candidacy)
The elector may fill out a registration card prior to signing a part petition to update any information needed
Circulator's name printed on the proper line
Accurate number of signatures reported
Circulator will sign and put address on proper line
Circulator MUST witness each signature
Qualifications of Circulators
Must be at least 18 years of age
A Circulator is not required to be an Ohio elector or an Ohio resident
Each circulator of a candidate petition must be a member of the political party named in the declaration of candidacy (Primary)
Candidate as Circulator: A candidate may circulate his or her own part-petition
Not an Ohio Elector: If the circulator is not an Ohio elector, the Board of Elections should accept as true the claim of political party membership that is included in the circulators statement, unless the board has knowledge to the contrary
Ohio Elector: An Ohio elector who circulates another persons declaration of candidacy and petition for the nomination or election at a partisan primary must not have voted in any other party's primary election in the preceding two calendar years.
Who can pre-check:
A public terminal is available for candidates and/ or their representatives to check petition signatures on the voter registration database at the Geauga County Board of Elections Office.
Who cannot pre-check:
Pre-checking of candidate's petitions before filing by the Geauga County Board of Election Staff is prohibited per the Ohio Secretary of State
Fill in candidate and nominating clauses completely prior to circulating the petition.
Verify the elector signed (not printed) their name. If signature is illegible, it might be helpful to print their last name above.
Check for completed address and proper dates.
Make sure the circulator clause is completely filled out and signed by the circulator.
Be mindful of the filing deadline and fee.
It is not suggested that you file only the amount of required signatures. Obtain more than the required amount. BUT you cannot file more than 3 times the number of required signatures.
A candidate may circulate more than one type of petition, BUT may only file for one office. R.C. 3513.052, R.C. 3599.09
Once petitions are filed, they cannot be changed, supplemented or returned.
If you realize there is an error, you can withdraw your petitions any time BEFORE board action/ filing deadline and file a new set of petitions.