A complete packet of petition information containing petition forms and candidate requirements may be obtained in the Candidate & Petition Services Department of the Board of Elections. For specific information please call 216-443-3231.
RULES GOVERNING PETITIONS
The “Statement of Candidacy” portion of each petition paper must be completely filled out and signed by the candidate(s) before being circulated. (R.C. 3513.07, 3513.261)
Candidates for judge must designate the term of office on the declaration of candidacy or nominating petition if more than one office is to be elected at the election. (R.C. 3513.08, 3513.28)
Only qualified electors may sign a petition. An elector’s qualifications are determined as of the date the petition is filed. (R.C. 3501.38 (A))
Each signature must be an original signature of an elector or the elector’s duly appointed attorney in fact acting pursuant to R.C. 3501.382, written in ink. “Signature” means that person’s written, cursive-style legal mark written in that person’s own hand.
(R.C. 3501.38 (B), 3501.382, 3501.011)
Each signature must be personally affixed by a registered elector who is qualified to vote on the candidacy or by the elector’s duly appointed attorney in fact who is acting pursuant to R.C. 3501.382. The elector’s name also may be printed underneath or next to the elector’s signature. (R.C. 3501.38)
Each signer’s residence address and the date of signing must be placed on the petition after the elector’s signature. (R.C. 3501.38 (C))
Petitions for a candidate for party nomination must be signed and circulated by persons who are members of the same political party as the candidate. (R.C. 3513.05)
Special Note Regarding Petition Circulators:
- On October 29, 2008, a federal court held that Ohio’s requirement that circulators of candidate petitions be registered to vote in Ohio was unconstitutional. However, the court did not rule on the requirement that the circulator of a declaration of candidacy for party nomination be a member of or affiliated with the same political party as the candidate named in the declaration of candidacy. A circulator is considered to be a member of a political party if the elector voted in the primary election of only that party within the preceding two calendar years, or did not vote in any other party’s primary election within the preceding two calendar years. ((R.C. 3513.05, seventh paragraph) Nader v. Blackwell, 545 F.3d 459 (C.A.6 2008))
A candidate may circulate his or her own petition, but cannot sign his or her own petition as an elector. For the purpose of circulating his or her own petition, a candidate is exempted from the party affiliation requirements described above. (R.C. 3513.191(C)(4))
A circulator may not sign the same petition paper that he or she is circulating. However, an otherwise eligible circulator may sign a petition paper being circulated for the same candidate by a different circulator.
After circulating the petition, the circulator must sign a statement and provide a complete residence address on each petition paper, under penalty of election falsification:
- Indicating the number of signatures contained on the petition;
- That the circulator witnessed the affixing of each signature on the petition;
- That all signers, to the best of the circulator’s knowledge and belief, were qualified to sign; and
- That each signature is, to the best of the circulator’s knowledge and belief, the signature of the person whose signature it purports to be.
If a circulator knowingly permits an unqualified person to sign a petition paper or permits a person to write a name other than the person’s own on a petition paper (except for an attorney in fact under R.C. 3501.382), that petition paper is invalid; otherwise, the signature of a person not qualified to sign shall be rejected, but shall not invalidate the other valid signatures on the paper. (R.C. 3501.38 (E) and (F))
Once a petition has been filed in a public office, it cannot be changed, supplemented or, in the case of a candidate’s petition, withdrawn. Certain initiative and referendum petitions may be withdrawn in accordance with law. (R.C. 3501.38 (I))
The original petition with the candidate’s original signature must be filed at the same time as all part-petitions are filed. (R.C. 3501.38 (K))
Each petition paper shall be circulated by one person only, and shall contain signatures of qualified electors of one county only. When petitions are circulated in a district that contains more than one county, separate petition papers must be circulated in each county.
(R.C. 3501.38, 3513.05, 3513.07, 3513.261)
No petition shall be filed with more than three times the minimum number of required signatures. (R.C. 3513.05, 3513.257). See individual municipal charters for specific information.
All petitions must contain the following statement in boldface capital letters: “WHOEVER COMMITS ELECTION FALSIFICATION IS GUILTY OF A FELONY OF THE FIFTH DEGREE.” (R.C. 3501.38(J), 3599.36)
All petitions remain open for public inspection, under reasonable regulations, at the board of elections in which they were filed.
(R.C. 3513.05, 3513.262)
To be a write-in candidate, a person must file a Declaration of Intent to be a Write-In Candidate (Form 13). Only write-in candidates who timely file a properly completed declaration of intent will have votes counted in the primary or general election for which the candidate filed. No person may file to be a write-in candidate for any non-federal office if for the same election that person already filed a declaration of candidacy or nominating petition, or if for the same election that person became a candidate by party nomination at a primary election or by filling vacancy on the ballot and did not timely withdraw the person’s candidacy.
A write-in candidate must meet all of the eligibility requirements of the office
Form Number: #13
Primary election: Generally 4 p.m. 72 days before the primary election (R.C. 3513.041). For municipal elections please refer to individual municipal charters for specific information.
- If the primary election is eliminated pursuant to R.C. 3513.02, the board of elections cannot accept declarations of intent to be write-in candidates at the primary (OAG 73-094).
- If the write-in candidate files for the primary election, the candidate must receive at least the same amount of write-in votes on the primary ballot as the "Candidate Signature Requirements" require to advance to the general election ballot. County Central Committee write-in's are required to receive at least one vote.
General election: Generally 4 p.m. on (72 days before the general election) (R.C. 3513.041). For municipal elections please refer to individual municipal charters for specific information.
A write-in candidate must pay the same filing fee as any other candidate for the office (R.C. 3513.10)
Filed With: Local candidates file with the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.
Death or Withdrawal of Candidate
An individual’s candidacy may cease to exist due to the individual’s death or decision to withdraw from the election.
A candidate may withdraw his or her candidacy at any time prior to the primary or general election by filing a written statement of withdrawal with the appropriate board of elections. (R.C. 3513.30)
If a candidate dies, the candidate’s party organization, committee, or family should notify the appropriate county board of elections of the death.
The law provides various procedures for the replacement of a candidate who dies or withdraws during the election cycle. The procedures to be followed will be dictated by the specific facts surrounding the vacancy on the ballot (e.g., the office involved, why the vacancy occurred, the time remaining before the election, and so forth). Two statutes generally governing vacancies on the ballot are R.C. 3513.30 (death of candidate before a primary election, withdrawal of candidacy before or after a primary election) and R.C. 3513.31 (filling vacancies in party, independent and nonpartisan nominations).