Run for Office

Change the World

Running for office takes courage, determination, talent and self-confidence. Campaigns are difficult and frustrating, but serving is incredibly rewarding. The MCDP encourages Democrats who possess a burning desire to make life better in our community, state and nation to run. We'll do all we can to help.
Candidate Requirements

The Candidate Requirement Guides published yearly by the Ohio Secretary of State, are comprehensive manuals that contain detailed information about the requirements for running for federal, state, local and judicial office. Topics addressed including petitions, campaign finance, qualifications for office, personal financial disclosure obligations and much, much more.

In short, the guides are "Must Have" resources for candidates or anyone who is thinking about running for office. 

Click on the icon above to view/download/print the Guide for municipal, township and board of education candidates
Click on the icon above to view/download/print the Guide for federal, state and county candidates
Petitions & Forms

If you decide to run for office you will be required to fill out forms and file a petition of candidacy.  You may access a complete list of downloadable forms and petitions from the Secretary of State by clicking on the button below.


Because there are more than 100 forms and petitions related to candidates and elections, we’re providing direct links to the one used most often. The “Declaration of Candidacy” forms listed also include the petitions candidates must file in order to have their names placed on the ballot.


Declaration of candidacy for party primary election for state senator or state representative

Declaration of candidacy for party primary for county office

Declaration of candidacy for party primary for city or village office.

Nominating petition for township office.

Nominating petition for member of board of education of city, local, or exempted village school district.

Other Resources

Downloadable Voter Files

Up-to-date voter files enable candidates to estimate voter turnout and target the people they want to influence during a campaign.  The Ohio Secretary of State offers access to comprehensive data sets that include voters’ names and addresses, party affiliation, vote history, along with a wealth of additional information.  Access the voter file download page here.

Ohio Elections Commission

The Ohio Elections Commission (OEC) is empowered to hear complaints and issue rulings regarding violations of the laws governing state and local candidate campaigns. Learn more about the OEC here.  If you believe a violation of law has occurred and would like to file a complaint click here.

Ohio Elections Calendar

Filing deadlines and other important dates may be found in the Ohio Election’s Calendar. View and download the calendar here.

Campaign Finance for Candidates

In order to ensure that elections are conducted as freely and fairly as possible and are not tainted by corruption, federal, state, and local governments have enacted campaign finance laws and adopted rules that regulate the activities of candidates, ballot issue committees, donors, and other persons or entities involved in the electoral process.


No area related to running for office is as important, as complicated or as fraught with danger as campaign finance. We're providing and overview and access to the rules, regulations, and forms. But if you, your treasurer or anyone associated with your campaign has questions or is unsure about a finance-related issue, we strongly suggest that you contact the Mahoning County Board of Elections , the Ohio Secretary of State's campaign finance section or the Federal Elections Commission for clarification and guidance. 

State & Local Candidates

Candidates for state and most local offices are subject to Ohio’s campaign finance laws and rules.  The Secretary of State’s Campaign Finance Handbook is a comprehensive guide to the rules and laws that govern contributions and expenditures. It also contains a complete inventory of reporting forms and instructions on how to complete and file them. The Handbook is only available in electronic format. You may access it by clicking on the button below.

Here are quick links to the forms that are used most often:

Designation of Treasurer—filed when a person decides to run for office or a committee undertakes a campaign in support of or opposition to a ballot issue.

Contributions received by a candidate or ballot issue committee

Expenditures made by a candidate or ballot issue committee

Contributions received at fundraising event

Filing Deadlines

Campaign finance reports must be filed on dates established by Ohio law.  Click the icon below to view the deadlines or access the reporting calendar here.

Contribution Limits

Ohio law establishes limits on campaign contributions that may be made and accepted. Click on the image below to view the limits or access the chart here

contribution limits.png

The laws governing federal candidates are administered in large part by the Federal Election Commission.

Candidates or those considering running for federal office will find a complete guide to campaign finance laws, filing requirements, as well as a publication library on the FEC site.


The most significant publication is the Guide for Congressional Candidates and Committees. You may access it online by clicking on the image below or view/download/print it by clicking on the PDF icon.