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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 ballot access 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.

ELECT has developed and published candidate informational bulletins and quick look one pagers specific to each office type. In addition to the qualifications, forms and filing requirements, candidate information bulletins provide candidates with information they will need to run for office.

Instructions for Potential Write-In Candidates

Presidential Write-In Candidates are required to file an ELECT-644 Joint Declaration of Intent to be Write-in Candidates for President and Vice President and, for each of your 13 Electors an ELECT-543 Oath for Electors for President and Vice President; Independent and Third Party

Write-in Candidates for all other offices are not required to file any ballot access documents, however, will need to be in compliance with Campaign Finance requirements

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.  
    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 any time after January 1 of the election year and before the filing deadline of the election.
  6. Submit all qualifying forms by deadline specified in the Candidate Bulletin.