How to run for public office
Pursing public office positions is a way individuals with a Master's in Public Administration (MPA) can impact the government and its citizens. The specific skills they have learned, including leadership, planning, finance and program evaluation, allow them to serve the community in a political role. There are many ways to participate in the government process on different levels. Therefore, it is important for individuals who have a public administration degree to understand how to run for office and the basics of what is required.
Basic qualifications and requirements
There are some basic qualifications for political office that individuals who graduated from an MPA program should know. Regardless of what position they plan to run for, individuals must often satisfy the requirements of American citizenship, voter registration, public disclosure, filing deadlines and residency in the area of service. After fulfilling these steps, they will be ready to play a role in part of the electoral process.
Basic rules for running for office: This is a summary of the initial requirements that someone should review if they are interested in running for office and can be used as an example for MPA students. It is provided by the Clark County Elections Office.
City election process overview: This resource is a guide put together by the Mountain View City Clerk's Office, and can be used as an example of how to run for city council.
Determining what office to run for
Students should know what political office they plan to run for before beginning to fill out any forms. There are many levels of government positions, from local town administrators all the way to federal White House positions. Understanding what each job entails and the experience that will help individuals qualify for election are necessary to tailoring a master's of public administration degree to fit.
Descriptions of elective offices: This is a list and descriptions of some of the elective offices that individuals can run for on the state and federal level. It is provided by the Spokane County Elections in Washington.
List of government offices: This list of offices is from the Nashville Election Commission and describes the basic requirements of each position.
Filing for office
Individuals must file for office once they decide to become a candidate and before they begin circulating nomination papers, receiving contributions or spending any money on their campaign. Finishing this task puts their name on the voting ballot and informs others of their intent to run. The information and fees that are required for this process vary depending on circumstances such as what office they are running for, where they are running and what political party they belong to.
A beginners guide to being a candidate for public office: This resource, created by the Office of the City Clerk in San Diego, California, acts as an example of how to run for office.
Filing for elective office: This information is an example of when to file, the costs and what documents are needed, as provided by the Washington Secretary of State.
Running for city office: This website contains an example of how to run for city office in North Dakota, according to the secretary of state in the Elections Division.
Qualifications, filing fees and locations to file: This resource shows the possible breakdown of the costs and qualifications of running, as well as where to file for office, according to the Board of Elections in Howard County, Maryland.
Candidate filing periods: This website contains a list of filing periods for candidates and can be used as an example for those who want to run for office, courtesy of the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State.
Nomination of candidacy by signatures or caucus
To run for office, people must often prove that residents in the area have interest in having the individual represent them. Therefore, many government organizations require people to be nominated to be put on the election ballot. This can happen by getting signed nomination papers or by village caucus.
Filling out nomination papers: This resource is an example of how to attain the official nomination papers and the signatures that are required by law. These completed documents allow the candidate names can be put on the ballot.
Nomination papers: These downloadable request forms for nomination and supplemental papers can be used by master's of public administration degree seekers as an example of the forms they may need to fill out when running for office.Legislative data: The legal description of how candidates for an elective office in a town or village should be nominated by a caucus is referenced on this website.
Procedures for nomination of candidates by caucus: This website contains a description provided by the Government Accountability Board of Wisconsin regarding the method that villages and towns can use to nominate candidates for their election ballot.
Campaign financing and reporting
There are rules in place that require candidates to file financial reports for their campaigns. This tracks the amount of money raised by individuals and facilitates a fair election process. Most people who run for local elections will not need to worry about filing because they will come under the minimum reporting requirements. However, those who plan to run should be aware of the restrictions in their area.
Campaign finance disclosure: Provided by the Board of Elections in New York City, this resource discusses the rules and procedures required of candidates to abide by the rules of election financial disclosure.
Campaign disclosure filings: This information describes who must file campaign financing information and when. It is distributed by the Lake County, Illinois, State Board of Elections and is an example of the political financial process.