Running for Office
Petitions - Filing for Office
Where do I obtain nominating signature petitions?
Nominating petitions are available from election officials on the county and local levels. Petition sheets may be purchased from commercial suppliers or the candidate may make photo copies provided the copies are exactly the same as the originals. The style of petition used depends on the office sought.
Where do I File?
Secretary of State
|Probate Court Judge||X|
|All Other Judicial||X|
|City & Townships||X|
|Grand Rapids Public||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.
The filing fee is deposited in the general fund of the county and is refunded to candidates who are nominated and to an equal number of candidates who receive the next highest number of votes in the primary election. If two or more candidates tie in having the lowest number of votes allowing a refund, the sum of $100 shall be divided among them. Candidates who withdraw are not eligible for a refund of the filing fee.
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.
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:
- 1500 Scribner Avenue NW, Grand Rapids.
- 4949 Complex Drive SE, Grand Rapids.
- 11777 White Creek Avenue NE, Cedar Springs.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
(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.