Qualifying to Become a Candidate in an Election
In order to become a candidate in an election, you must qualify for the office you are seeking. The qualifying period is a three day window which is set by law. Local candidates qualify at the parish Clerk of Court’s Office. State candidates qualify at the Secretary of State’s Office.
The qualifications to run for office vary by office. For example, if you are running for district attorney, you must have been admitted to the practice of law in Louisiana for at least five years prior to the election and have lived in the district for at least two years. If you are running for coroner, you must be a licensed physician, unless no licensed physician in the parish will accept the office. The coroner must be a resident of the parish, or a licensed physician who is not a resident of the parish but maintains a full-time medical practice at a principal medical office facility within the parish.
You can view or download the qualifications of specific offices by following this link: Qualifications of Candidates pdf.
You must complete a form on which you will certify to the following:
- Registered Voter: You are a qualified elector (registered voter) in jurisdiction where you qualify to run for office.
- Felony Conviction: You are not currently under an order of imprisonment for conviction of a felony and are not prohibited from qualifying as a candidate for conviction of a felony pursuant to Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution of Louisiana (Expungement of a felony is not an exception to the Law. Only a governor’s pardon or a pardon by the officer of the state, nation or government, or country having such authority to pardon in the place of conviction and sentence exempt a person from being disqualified to run for office. Additionally, an exception applies when 15 years after the date of completion of the sentence of the felony has lapsed.)
- Taxes: If you are a candidate for any office other than U.S. Senator or Representative you must have filed federal and state income tax returns for each of the previous five tax years, have filed for an extension of time for filing either your federal or state income tax return or both, or was not required to file either a federal or state income tax return or both.
- Campaign Finance: You acknowledge that you are subject to the provisions of the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act if you are a candidate for any office other than U.S. Senator or Representative or member of a committee of a political party and that you do not owe any outstanding fines, fees or penalties pursuant to the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act, if any were previously due.
- Campaign Finance, Major or District Office: If you are a candidate for a major or district office as defined in La. R.S. 18:1483, you have filed each report that you are required to file by the Campaign Finance Discolsure Act, if any were previously due.
- Ethics: You do not owe any outstanding fines, fees, or penalties pursuant to the Code of Governmental Ethics.
- Election Offenses: You are knowledgeable of the laws governing election offenses as provided in Chapter 10 of Title 18 and the prohibitions relative to erecting, displaying, or posting political campaign signs on any highway right-of-way, publicly owned property or right-of-way, or to or on any public utility pole or stanchion as provided in La. R.S. 48:347(D), 30:2544(A) and 18:1470.
Your candidacy may be challenged if you are not qualified to run for the office and you may be criminally charged for executing an affidavit knowing it to contain false or incorrect information.
Qualifying Fees, Forms, and Filing
Candidates may qualify for office by paying a fee or by filing a nominating petition. Nominating petition forms are available at the Parish Clerk of Court’s Office or the Secretary of State’s Office.
Military Qualifying Certification Deployed or Stationed Outside of United States
Act 778 of the 2012 Regular Session states that a candidate serving in the armed forces of the United States who is stationed or deployed outside of the United States shall not be required to pay any qualifying fee or any additional fee. He or she shall file with the qualifying official a military qualifying certification form prepared by the Secretary of State certifying that at the time of qualifying he or she is serving in the armed forces of the United States and that he or she is eligible to become a candidate pursuant to United States Department of Defense Directive 1344.10.
Having an Agent Qualify a Candidate for Office
You may use an agent to file your qualifying form.
The agent shall file with the qualifying official an Agent Affidavit Form attesting that the agent has you authorization and consent to file the notice.
An agent who files a notice of candidacy without the authorization or consent of the candidate shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and fined not more than $500 or imprisoned not more than 30 days, or both.