Requirements to Run for Public Office as a Democrat - National Democratic Training Committee

There are many hoops to jump through between having the thought “I should run for office” and punching a hole in a ballot with your name on it.

First, you have to think about the issues you’re passionate about and figure out which office most directly affects those issues. But even before you go through those steps, many people first wonder if they’re even qualified at all?

What are the Requirements to Run for Public Office?

Unfortunately, the answers aren’t always that easy to find.

Each state, and each office within each state, has different requirements to run for public office.

The goal here at NDTC is to break down as many barriers to entry as possible for potential Democratic candidates. So we’ve created this state-by-state guide for the requirements to run for office. The guide directs you to the minimum requirements to run for public office for every state-level elected office.

Most states have age requirements and an amount of time for which you need to have lived in an area you want to represent. All of this and more is in the guide below.

Requirements to Run for Public Office by State*


*Please note that if you are planning on running in 2020, some of these resources will not have been updated yet . However, general qualifications likely remain the same. 

What If I’m Not Qualified?

If you find you are not qualified for the office you were hoping to run for, don’t stop there!

There are different qualifications for different offices, and there may be a similar office you are qualified for. Many local offices will have residency length requirements, so perhaps all it’s saying is you have to wait a bit to run and you have time to really learn how to run for office before jumping in.

If you find you aren’t qualified for the office you were really set on running for and don’t know of any similar offices, contact someone in your local Democratic party and see what other similar offices you are qualified for.

If the age requirement is many years away, or there is some other hurdle, you can always volunteer on a campaign. This will allow you to potentially work alongside whoever does decide to run if they win their elections. When you’re eligible down the line, you’ll have great experience to run on. If not, you’ll still have made a difference in the space you strived to.

Remember, making a difference is a long game. If you really care about making a difference in your community it’s worth the patience and time-investment. Trust us, actually holding a public office requires A LOT of patience and time investment as well.

What’s Next?

Once you figure out what offices you can run for, take the next step and jump into our free, online academy to learn the skills needed to successfully run for office.

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