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Be the Change: How to Run for Office


This 2016 election season has produced at least one thing we can all agree on- a renewed drive to become involved and effect change. The good news is, most change begins on a local level. Here we'll outline some basics for you to do just that; run for a local office and put your words into action.

1) Decide where your skills could affect the most change and do the most good for your community. Do you have great foresight and a clear vision of where you think the community should go? Maybe a steering committee, or city council is good for you. Are you actively involved in area schools? Maybe you could run to be a school board member.

2) Make sure you are qualified for said office. Though most offices don't require previous experience, there will be other requirements that might include age, residency, voter eligibility, etc. Make sure you meet all the requirements before jumping in.

3) Get a group of people together that include your support system and your possible campaign committee. Don't just round up people who are fun to hang out with. Get hard working people who are dedicated to the same ideals as you, and people who may be critical of your decision to run. You'll need input from all sides to figure out if it's right for you.

4) Put together your campaign plan. This will include everything from your vote goal to fundraising to assembling your team. For more on that: go here.

5) Time to make it official. To become a candidate on the ballot you must go to the Pope County Clerk's office to sign up. There is no fee to do this. You will receive a petition from the County Clerk to gather the signatures for at least thirty registered voters that reside in the same ward that you reside in and are running for*. Getting extra signatures is always a good idea.

6) Time to get started with your campaign! Start hosting events, getting your message out, and showing the community why they should give you their vote.

There you go- this list should help you get going. If you have any further questions direct them to, Kathy Collins, the County Clerk. She should be able to help you out!

Here's a more thorough list of possible local offices you could run for: The Big List of Local Elected Offices for Political Candidates

*The forms to be on the ballot for this year are available now and must be returned to the County Clerk’s office no later than noon on August 19. The city offices open for the 2016 year are for City Council seats. (Those are two year terms currently, but there is going to be an issue on the ballot to make them four year terms.) In the next election, two years from now, all of the Council positions, City Clerk, City Attorney and Mayor will be on the ballot.

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