Running for Office

Filing Requirements

Select office for 2024 filing requirements.

Petitions - Filing for Office

Where do I obtain nominating signature petitions?

One (1) sample nominating petition form is available from election officials on the county and local levels. It is suggested that petition sheets be purchased from commercial suppliers in lieu of making photo copies to ensure the format of the form is not inadvertently changed. The County Clerk’s office can provide a list of vendors available, if requested. The style of petition used depends on the office sought.

Where Do I File?

Governor   X    
Secretary of State   X    
Attorney General   X    
U.S. Senator   X    
U.S. Representative in Congress 2nd X    
  3rd X    
State Senate 18th X    
  20th X    
  29th   X  
  30th X    
  33rd X    
State Representative 78th X    
  79th X    
  80th   X  
  81st   X  
  82nd   X  
  83rd   X  
  84th   X  
  89th X    
  90th   X  
  91st X    
State Boards   X    
Clerk/Register     X  
Drain Commissioner     X  
Prosecuting Attorney     X  
Sheriff     X  
Treasurer     X  
County Commissioner 1st-21st   X  
City, Township, or Village       X
Judge of Court of Appeals 3rd X    
Judge of Circuit Court 17th X    
Judge of Probate Court Kent   X  
Judge of District Court 59th X    
Judge of District Court 61st X    
Judge of District Court 62A X    
Judge of District Court 62B X    
Judge of District Court 63rd X    
GRCC     X  
Grand Rapids Public Schools       X
Godfrey-Lee Public Schools       X
All Other Schools     X
When are petitions filed?

Petitions are filed on or before 4 p.m. on the 15th Tuesday preceding the Election.

Who can pay a filing fee instead of nominating petitions?

Partisan candidates for State Senator, State Representative, County Offices, County Commission Districts may file a filing fee of $100 in lieu of filing nominating petitions. Starting with the 2020 election, township offices may also utilize the $100 filing fee option.

Persons wishing to run with no party affiliation must file qualifying petitions and may not file a filing fee.

What information needs to be included on the heading of the petition?

The heading of each petition sheet must include the candidate's name, address, political party (if applicable), the office sought, the district, the county name, the city/township (if applicable), and the date of the election. Petitions for judicial offices must also include information regarding the term of office such as: Regular term/Incumbent Position; Regular term/Non-Incumbent Position; Vacancy/Incumbent Position; Vacancy/Non-Incumbent Position; or New Judgeship. The term expiration for the judicial office must also be included if more than one vacancy is to be filled in the judicial district. What are the responsibilities of the petition circulator? The petition circulator must be registered to vote in the State of Michigan.

No more than one county and one city/township/village may be listed on a petition sheet. The circulator must indicate whether the jurisdiction is a city or township at the top of the petition.

The circulator must complete the certificate at the bottom of the petition sheet after obtaining the last signature on the sheet. The date on the circulator's certificate must be on or after the date of the signatures. Any signatures dated after the date indicated on the circulator's certificate are invalid.

The petition circulator must only accept signatures from registered voters of the jurisdiction that corresponds with the heading of the petition sheet. All signers should sign their names as they are registered.

All signatures on a petition sheet should be executed in the presence of the circulator. A circulator is not permitted to leave a petition unsupervised.

The circulator should make sure the signer completes their signature, printed name, address, zip code, and date of signing.

If listing a city or township that shares a name with another in the county the "city" or "township" must be indicated. For example, when circulating a county wide petition the distinction must be made between a city such as Lowell and Lowell Township. Failure to make this distinction will invalidate the signature.

A person is not permitted to sign on behalf of another person including the signer's spouse or dependent.

Posting of Political Signs

The Kent County Clerk's office would like to make you aware of certain restrictions on the placement of political signs.

Listed below are restrictions for the Michigan Department of Transportation, the Kent County Road Commission, and certain cities.

Michigan Department of Transportation

Signs are not permitted in the right-of way of State Highways. Signs found on State Highway right-of-ways will be removed to 1500 Scribner Ave NW - Grand Rapids. For further information contact MDOT at 451-3091.

Kent County Road Commission

Road Commission regulations apply to all county primary and local township roads. Signs shall not be larger than 9 square feet. Shall be placed a minimum of 15 feet from the paved surface and at least 150 feet from the intersection of another public street. No signs shall be placed in vision corners. Signs in violation of KCRC policy will be removed to one of three locations:

Central Complex
1900 4 Mile Road
Walker, MI 49544
Superintendent: Bill Byrne
Phone: 616-242-6972

North Complex
11777 White Creek Avenue NE
Cedar Springs, MI 49319
Superintendent: Mike Armock
Phone: 616-242-6969

South Complex
4949 Tim Dougherty Drive SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49512
Superintendent: Rob Koehl
Phone: 616-336-2987

Southwest Complex
131 84th Street SW
Byron Center, MI 49315
Superintendent: Paul Price
Phone: 616-336-8051

Signs will be stored for one week. The Road and Park Commission reserves the right to collect a handling and storage fee for excessive violation of this policy.

City of Grand Rapids

No political sign or handbill shall be placed on any utility pole or on any property within the city right-of-way. That right-of way being commonly described as the area between the street curb and the sidewalk, or in an area where there is no sidewalk, the area between the utility pole placement and the street surface.

City of Wyoming

Political signs are not allowed within the street right-of-way. In the area of 0 to 5 feet from the street right-of-way signs are limited to 3 feet in height. Signs are limited to 6 square feet in area in residential areas, 60 square feet in the Office district, 75 square feet in Commercial and Industrial districts for ground signs and 100 square feet for pole signs. All signs must be removed within five days following the election.

City of Walker

Political signs are not permitted within the street right-of-way and must not be located adjacent to drive openings where they may interfere with traffic flow. Signs are limited to 6 square feet in residential areas and 16 square feet in commercial and industrial districts.

City of East Grand Rapids

All political signs must be placed on private property. Signs are limited to 32 square feet, the height of the sign shall not exceed 6 foot from ground level and must not be lighted. All signs must be removed within two days following the election.

City of Rockford

Political signs are allowed in the street right-of-way as long as they do not block the normal view of any vehicular or pedestrian traffic and are not lighted in any way as to be confused with authorized traffic or emergency signals. All signs must be removed within 2 days following the election.

City of Kentwood

Political signs are not permitted within the street right-of-way and must not be affixed to any utility pole or mail box. Signs in residential areas are limited to one sign per lot and are limited to 6 square feet in size. Signs in commercial areas are limited to one sign per lot, per street frontage, and a maximum size of 32 square feet in size. Signs in violation of City regulations will be removed to City Hall, 4740 Walma Ave. SE Kentwood, MI 49512. For further information contact the City Planning Department 554-0707.

City of Grandville

A nonilluminated temporary sign containing a political or social (noncommercial) message. A political sign shall not exceed four square feet in area and three feet in height if located in a residential district, and shall not exceed 32 square feet in area and ten feet in height if located in a nonresidential district. A political sign pertaining to an election shall be removed within seven days after the election.

Plainfield Charter Township

A temporary sign related to a primary, general or special election, which displays the name, party or other related information of political candidates running for office, issues placed upon a ballot to be voted upon or other political issues. Without limitation, a campaign sign is not permitted in the public right-of-way.

  1. Size: Sign area of any single sign shall not exceed 12 sq. ft. and shall be setback a minimum of 5 ft from all lot lines.
  2. Number: No more than 4 signs on any single property and all such signs shall be located on private property. The total number of sign area for all signs utilized shall not exceed 32 sq. ft.
  3. Duration: Campaign signs are only permitted up to 60 days prior to an election/voting day, and all such signs shall be removed within 14 days after an election/voting day.

For information on cities not listed, contact the city planning department. It addition, various townships and villages have restrictions on size and removal of political signs within their jurisdiction. Please contact the township or village office directly for information.

Write-In Candidates

(PA583 of 1996)

Candidates wishing to run for a write-in campaign must file a Declaration of Intent with the appropriate filling official by 4 p.m. on the second Friday preceding the election in order to have their write-in vote counted.

Candidates wishing to run a write-in campaign for Precinct Delegate must file a Declaration of Intent by 4 p.m. on the first Friday preceding the election or at their precinct with the precinct chairperson by the close of polls at 8 p.m. in order to have their write-in vote counted.

This form is available from the Kent County Clerk's Office.

The Declaration of Intent is waived only if a candidate appearing on the ballot dies or is disqualified on or after the Wednesday immediately preceding the election. In such instances, all write-in votes cast will be counted. The waiver does not apply to Precinct Delegate positions.