FAQs

If an individual is seeking office as a Republican or Democratic candidate, must he/she be registered as a member of that specific party?
Yes. Candidates must be eligible to vote in their party's primary to have their name printed on the ballot as a candidate of that party.

If an individual is seeking office as an independent or political group/organization candidate, must he/she be registered independent or as a member of the political group/organization?
Yes, except for certain city candidates. A candidate's registration status cannot be Republican or Democrat on January 1st preceding the general election for which the person seeks to be a candidate.

What is the deadline to change party affiliation to be a candidate of a specific party or an independent or political group/organization candidate?
December 31st is the last date for an individual to change party affiliation with the county clerk to be eligible as a candidate in the subsequent primary of that specific party or to be eligible as an independent or political group/organization candidate in a general election.

If an individual is registered Republican or Democrat and does not file for office as a Republican or Democratic candidate, may he/she seek office as in independent candidate in the general election?
No, except for certain city candidates. To be eligible as an independent candidate in a general election, the candidate must have changed his/her party affiliation by December 31st preceding the general election for which he/she seeks to be a candidate.

What is the earliest date a candidate may affix signatures on the filing documents?
Signatures shall not be affixed on filing documents prior to the first Wednesday after the first Monday in November of the year preceding the year in which the office will appear on the ballot.

What is the earliest date an individual may file as a candidate (excluding Presidential Preference Primary) for an office?
A candidate (excluding a Presidential Preference Primary) may not file earlier than the first Wednesday after the first Monday in November of the year preceding the year the office will appear on the ballot.

With whom should candidacy papers be filed?
If the office sought is an office to be voted for by the electors of more than one county, member of Congress, member of the General Assembly, or a nonpartisan judicial office, documents are to be filed with the Office of the Secretary of State. Candidates for all other offices should file with the county clerk.

How much does it cost to file to become a candidate for public office?
Filing fees are determined by the office sought and are set forth in KRS 118.255. The Secretary of State accepts personal checks, campaign account checks, cash or money order for payment of filing fees. Candidates who file with the county clerk should contact their county clerk regarding acceptable forms of payment.

How many signatures are required to become a candidate?
Two signatures are required to file as a Republican or Democrat.

To become an independent or political group/organization candidate, the number of signatures required varies by office:

  • State officer or any officer for whom all the electors of the state are entitled to vote: 5,000
  • United States Representative: 400
  • County officer, member of the General Assembly or Commonwealth's Attorney: 100
  • Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor: 25
  • Magistrate/Justice of the Peace or Constable: 20
  • Board of Education (School Board Member): 2
  • City Officer: 2

Which filing form does an individual use to file as a candidate for the nonpartisan Board of Education (School Board Member), Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor or City Officer?
The filing form for these offices is a nominating petition. In addition to filing the nominating petition, Board of Education (School Board Member) candiates are required to file an Affidavit for School Board Candidacy and Membership.

Must a candidate be registered with a specific party to file for a nonpartisan judicial office?
No. The candidate must be a registered voter, but all judicial offices are nonpartisan.

What is the deadline for an individual to withdraw as a candidate?
A candidate may withdraw his/her name at any time; however, if the candidate does not wish his/her name to appear on the ballot, the withdrawal must be filed before the time of certification of candidates who will appear on the ballot (the second Monday after the filing deadline for a primary or general election during a non-presidential election year, or the Monday after the Friday following the first Tuesday in September preceding a general election in a presidential election year). There is no statutory authority for returning a filing fee in the event a candidate withdraws.

When must a candidate file reports relating to campaign contributions or campaign expenditures?
For information regarding campaign contribution and expenditure reporting requirements, contact the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance at (502) 573-2226.

If a candidate has a change of campaign treasurer, who should he/she contact?
For questions regarding campaign treasurers, contact the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance at (502) 573-2226.

What are the most common errors made by candidates seeking ballot access?

  • The title of office and district number (where applicable) is omitted or improperly stated
  • The name the candidate wishes to appear on the ballot does not conform to the statutory requirements of KRS 118.129
  • The candidate fails to sign and/or the document is not properly notarized
  • The candidate fails to verify voter registration and party affiliation of the persons signing the filing documents
  • The candidate fails to submit the required filing fee or file by the deadline date and time.