Candidates for office must meet certain qualifications and are required to file specific documents in order to qualify to appear on the ballot. These qualifications and requirements may vary slightly depending on whether the office sought is a local office, a general assembly seat, a statewide office, or a federal office. Generally, all candidates must meet the following minimum qualifications:
1. A candidate must be qualified to vote for and to hold the office being sought.
2. A candidate must have been a resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia for at least one year immediately preceding the election.
For more information on becoming a candidate including forms, bulletins, calendars and more, please visit the Virginia Department of Elections Candidate/PAC website.
Citizens who are interested in running for state or local offices in Virginia should start by downloading the appropriate Candidate Information Bulletin from the Virginia Department of Elections website to get information about qualifications for a particular office, filing requirements and deadlines, where to file the required forms and documents, and other information about running for a particular office. All candidates for office must also comply with state laws regarding campaign finance and advertising.
Candidate information, forms and reports may also be obtained by contacting:
City Of Richmond residents who need forms and/or assistance may contact:
The Office of Elections
Candidate Phone: 804-646-5950 Candidate email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The filing deadline for independent candidates for offices elected in November is 7 p.m., on the second Tuesday of June.
Candidates for City Council, School Board, and Mayor run as independents and therefore are not nominated by parties or primary elections.
General election candidates may begin circulating petitions for signatures on January 2nd of the election year. Any signatures obtained before this date will be rendered invalid and not counted.
Petitions require a minimum number of signatures. Each person signing a petition must be a registered voter. All petitions must be certified before a candidate can be placed on the ballot. The number of signatures required for various offices is as follows:
• State Senate: 250
• House of Delegates: 125
• City Council: 125
• School Board: 125
• Mayor: 125
• Constitutional Offices (Clerk of Court, Sheriff, Commonwealth’s Attorney, and Treasurer): 125
If a candidate, other than a party nominee, does not qualify to have his name appear on the ballot by reason of the candidate's filed petition not containing the minimum number of signatures of qualified voters for the office sought, the candidate may appeal that determination within five calendar days of the issuance of the notice of disqualification pursuant to § 24.2-612, or notice from the State Board that the candidate did not meet the requirements to have his name appear on the ballot.
Appeals made by candidates for a local office shall be filed with the electoral board. Appeals made by candidates for all other offices shall be filed with the State Board. The appeal shall be heard by the State Board or the electoral board, as appropriate, within five business days of its filing. The electoral board shall notify the State Board of any appeal that is filed with the electoral board.
The State Board shall develop procedures for the conduct of such an appeal. The consideration on appeal shall be limited to whether or not the signatures on the petitions that were filed were reasonably rejected according to the requirements of this title and the uniform standards approved by the State Board for the review of petitions. Immediately after the conclusion of the appeal hearing, the entity conducting the appeal shall notify the candidate and, if applicable, the State Board, of its decision in writing. The decision on appeal shall be final and not subject to further appeal.
To assist in this understanding of the law, the State Board of Elections (SBE) has developed summaries on the laws and policies governing CFDA. Be sure to read these summaries before you become a candidate, open your campaign committee, or create an account and a statement of organization in Virginia's Committee Electronic Tracking Application (COMET).
You can find these summaries here.
Campaign signs and posters displayed on private property are not regulated by the City of Richmond, nor do they require a City permit for their display. The Richmond City Code (2020) §§ 11-74 through 11-79, however, prohibit the posting of signs on public property and rights-of-way.
Click here for details about City Code (2020) §§ 11-74 through 11-79.
State laws regarding political ads can be found here in the Code of Virginia.