State News

N.C. political hopefuls to begin official signup

Posted February 8, 2010 4:01 a.m. EST
Updated February 8, 2010 6:39 a.m. EST

— North Carolina's campaign season crosses a significant threshold Monday as candidates begin signing up to get on this year's election ballots.

People can file paperwork with the State Board of Elections to become official candidates starting at noon. The primary will be held May 4, and the general election Nov. 2.

The most high-profile race this year will be for U.S. Senate. GOP incumbent Richard Burr is seeking another six-year term, but several Democrats hope to remove him from office.

All 13 seats in the U.S. House delegation are up for election, as are the 170 seats in the General Assembly and dozens of judgeships. Local boards of elections also will collect filings for county and municipal races.

For party-affiliated candidates, the filing period opens at noon Feb. 8 and closes at 5 p.m. Feb. 26. Unaffiliated candidates have until June 25 to file, and write-in candidates until Aug. 4, sinceneither type of candidate doesn't have to participate in primaries.

Primaries will be held May 4 and any run-off primaries on June 22, and the general election takes place Nov. 2.

By Feb. 26, party-affiliated candidates must have filed a signed, certified notice of candidacy and paid a filing fee to the State Board of Elections or a county board of election, depending on whether they are running for federal or state and local offices.

Party-affiliated candidates must be a registered member of the party and cannot have changed their affiliation less than 90 days before the filing date.

The filing fee is equal to 1 percent of the salary of the office for which a person is running – for example, $1,740 for the U.S. Congress and $207 for the state General Assembly.

Unaffiliated candidates must also have collected a certain number of certified signatures by June 24: from 2 percent of voters in the most recent gubernatorial election, or 85,379, for the U.S. Senate; and 4 percent of the registered voters in the district for the U.S. House, state House and state Senate.

Write-in candidates must collect 500 signatures from qualified voters for the U.S. Senate; 250 signatures for multi-county U.S. House and state General Assembly districts; and 100 signatures or signatures from 1 percent of the voters if there are fewer than 5,000 qualified voters in single-county U.S. House and state General Assembly districts.

The signatures for state office must be certified by the county election boards, and for federal office, by the State Board of Election.

Candidates running for the General Assembly or judicial office must also file a statement of economic interest. Candidates must list income and financial assets and liabilities – such as mortgages, stocks, business ownership or credit card debt – for themselves and their household. Candidates, though, should not list the monetary value of those items.

The statement of economic interest also asks about candidates' lobbying activities and criminal background and has a section for them to report any ethical concerns.

Candidates must also meet certain age, citizenship and residency requirements for offices. One notable exception is the U.S. House; a candidate does not have to live in the district which they are seeking to represent.

  • U.S. Senate: at least 30 years old, citizen for at least nine years, resident of North Carolina
  • U.S. House: at least 25 years old, citizen for at least seven years, resident of North Carolina
  • N.C. Senate: at least 25 years old, qualified North Carolina voter and resident for at least two years, resident of the district for at least one year before the general election in November
  • N.C. House: at least 21 years old, a qualified North Carolina voter, resident of the district for at least one year before the general election in November
  • Judicial office: at least 21 years old, a qualified North Carolina voter, authorized to practice law in North Carolina
  • County offices: at least 21 years old, a registered voter of the county, eligible to vote for the office
  • Sheriff: at least 21 years old, a registered voter of the county, eligible to vote for the office, residency in the county for at least one year before the general election in November