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How to Run for Office in North Dakota

Congratulations! You're taking the next step in your community involvement.

 

You don't have to have political experience to run for office. Caring about your community is the primary qualification for running for office.

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Before You Run

 

1. Find out more about running for office. Speak with people who have run before to learn about what it's like to campaign. You can even email your elected officials and ask them what it was like when they ran.

2. Make sure you qualify. Find the qualifications on the the state's resource page.

 

3. Review the state's candidate page. The candidate page has all the information you need to know to run for office, including the voting & election laws, the election calendar, and the paperwork you need to file.

If you are considering running for a partisan office, like state legislature or governor, start by reaching out to your political party, so they can help you through the process.

Submit Your Paperwork

Certain forms are required depending on which office you're running for, and they can be found on the state's candidate page. Here are some of the forms:

  • Statement of Interests: Your basic contact information and a list of your financial interests.

  • Petition/Certificate of Nomination:  Paperwork for gathering signatures from voters in your district to get your name on the ballot. 

  • Affidavit of Candidacy: Basic contact and district information. This one is required for county offices and up.

  • Certificate of Endorsement: If you are being endorsed by a political party for a partisan office, you can complete this form instead of gathering signatures to get on the ballot.

Submit your candidate forms January - April in the election year, but be sure to check the state's election calendar for the final deadline. City and county candidates submit paper forms to their local election office, while state candidates submit them through the state's online filing tool.

Start Your Campaign

Check out our resources below for support in your campaign, and continue speaking with people who have run for campaign advice. If you plan to receive donations or spend money on your campaign, you must also open a separate bank account to track your campaign finances.

 

Remember to fill out our nonpartisan online voter guide on VOTE411.org. We will send you an invite to fill our our 5 candidate questions about 4-6 weeks before the June election.

Submit Your Campaign Finance Report

Most candidates for public office in North Dakota are required to submit campaign finance reports, where you list your campaign expenditures and any contributions of $200 or more within the reporting period. Remember to submit your own campaign contributions on this form.

 

If someone makes a $25 contribution in March, $100 contribution in June, and another $80 contribution in July, you would report it, because it equals more than $200 from one donor. Even if you didn't receive any donations, you must file a year-end statement.

City and county candidates submit a paper form to their elections office, and candidates running for state legislature and up must use the state's online reporting system. Learn more from the state's campaign finance page.

Questions? Contact the state elections division at soselect@nd.gov.

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How Do I Run for the State Legislature?

To run for the state legislature with a political party, reach out to the party to get connected with your local district. Here are the state political parties:

ND Democratic-NPL Party

ND Libertarian Party

ND Republican Party

The party endorsement process occurs at the district conventions which usually take place in January or February of the election year, and the candidate recruitment process starts even before then.

To run as an independent, the ND Secretary of State has a resource for you. It starts at the bottom right of the first page and continues onto page two.

Women in Public Office

Women make up half of the population of North Dakota yet hold less than 25% of the legislative seat.

 

North Dakota is 41st in the nation for the proportion of women in our state legislature. 

Studies have found that women express less interest in running for office than men, and sometimes the encouragement and support of one person is all they need to consider running.

 

Remember to tell the women in your life, "Have you considered running for public office? I'd vote for you!" 

Running for Office Resources

She Should Run

She Should Run is a national nonpartisan nonprofit working to increase the number of women considering a run for public office.

Running Start

Running Start is a nonpartisan nonprofit that trains young women to run for political office. 

North Dakota Native Vote

NDNV works to engage tribal members in constructing a representative democracy by working in reservation communities and urban areas to create and affect policy and equal representation for the Native people of North Dakota.

New American Leaders

New American Leaders is a national nonpartisan organization that equips immigrants, refugees, and their allies with the tools they need to run for and hold elected office.

How Can I Help a Candidate?

Practical Kindness' tool shares tips on how you can support a friend with their campaign for public office.

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