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. Being civic-minded and caring about your community are the primary qualifications for running for office.
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.
Set Up Your Bank Account
If you plan to receive donations or spend money on your campaign, you must have a separate bank account to track your campaign finances. Your banker will be able to help you set up an account, so reach out to them to get started.
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's the list of forms:
Statement of Interests: Your basic contact information and your financial interests.
Oath of Office: Sign and notarize that you'll follow the US and state constitution and uphold the duties of office.
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.
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.
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:
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 fewer 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!"
Submit Your Campaign Finance Report
Most candidates for public office in North Dakota are required to submit campaign finance reports, where you list people who donated $200 or more to your campaign within a calendar year.
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 an end-of-year 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.
Questions? Contact the state elections division at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Running for Office Resources
NDWN hosts Ready to Run™, a bi-partisan program for women who want to run for office, seek higher office, work on a campaign, get appointed to an office, or learn more about the political system.
She Should Run is a national nonpartisan nonprofit working to increase the number of women considering a run for public office.
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 is a national nonpartisan organization that equips immigrants, refugees, and their allies with the tools they need to run for and hold elected office.
Practical Kindness' tool shares tips on how you can support a friend with their campaign for public office.