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Becoming a Candidate

Illustration of two candidates debating

Candidates for office must meet certain qualifications and are required to file specific documents in order to qualify to appear on the ballot. These qualifications and requirements may vary slightly depending on whether the office sought is a local office, a general assembly seat, a statewide office, or a federal office. Generally, all candidates must meet the following minimum qualifications:

  • Be qualified to vote for and hold the office sought, and
  • Be a resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia for one year immediately preceding the election.

The board has developed and published candidate informational bulletins specific to each office type. In addition to the qualifications, forms and filing requirements, candidate information bulletins provide candidates with information he/she will need to run for office.

Instructions for Potential Candidates

  1. Read the candidate bulletin for the office sought.

  2. Complete the Certificate of Candidate Qualification form for the office sought. This form may be filed any time after January 1 of the election year and before the filing deadline of the election. It must be filed before a candidate can purchase a registered voter’s list.

  3. Complete the necessary Campaign Finance documents and review the laws and policies for Campaign Committees.

  4. Complete the appropriate Statement of Economic Interest form, if required.  Effective April 26, 2017, non-incumbent candidates for Statewide and General Assembly offices are required to file a SOEI with the Department of Elections. Also effective April 26, 2017, candidates for constitutional and local offices are required to file a SOEI with their local General Registrar.

    Candidates for General Assembly offices should complete this form. Candidates for all other offices should complete this form.

  5. Complete the Declaration of Candidacy form and Petition of Qualified Voter form ( petition is not required if candidate is participating in non-primary party nomination process ). These forms must be filed together on or before the filing deadline for the election.
  6. Submit all qualifying forms by deadline specified in the Candidate Bulletin.