Citizens may file by petition to become candidates for almost every office on this year’s ballot. There are no filing fees for petition candidates, but the petitioner must meet (or will meet by time of the General Election) all qualifications for the office. Petition Candidates are not linked to any “Straight Party” ticket nor is any party affiliation displayed on the ballot for these candidates. At the time of filing their petition for candidacy, the citizen must submit a complete printout of where they completed their Statement of Economics Interests Form on the State Ethics Commission website (more information on this below). Citizens filing for the office of Coroner or Sheriff must additionally complete one of the following affidavits and have it notorized prior to filing:
Citisens filing for the office of Sheriff must additionally file thier results of the SLED criminal records search with our office. State law requires the candidate to provide their fingerprints to SLED to initiate the search no later than 130 days prior to the General Election, which would have been June 29th.
The deadline for petition candidates to file their complete petitions and any additional paperwork required for the November 6, 2012 General Election is Noon, July 16, 2012. There are no exceptions for emergencies, bad traffic, bad weather, etc. The receiving authority for the petition will issue a receipt. Once a petition is submitted, the petitioner cannot come back to add additional signature pages. The Pickens County Registration & Elections Commission has until 12:00PM (Noon) on August 15, 2012 to validate all signatures on the petitions submitted. Persons who have submitted petitions are not a candidate until their petitions have been validated.
If a petition candidate is filing for a county office, the candidate files with the Pickens County Registration & Elections Commission (222 McDaniel Ave B-9 Pickens, SC 29671). This includes the following Pickens County offices: Auditor, Clerk of Court, Coroner, County Council Districts 3, 4, 5, and 6, Sheriff, Treasurer, and the Pickens County Soil and Water Conservation District Commission.
If a petition candidate is filing for a federal, state, or multi-county office, the candidate files with the SC State Election Commission (2221 Devine ST Suite 105 Columbia, SC 29205). This includes the following offices: U.S. House of Representatives District 3, State Senate District 1 and 2, State House of Representatives District 2, 3, 4, 5, and10.
To be nominated by petition, a citizen must file a nominating petition containing the valid signatures of at least 5% of the active, registered voters in the geographical area the office represents and meet all qualifications of the office. The 5% is based on the total number of registered voters in the geographical area 120 days prior to the election. For the November 6, 2012 General Election, this date is July 9, 2012. The Pickens County Registration and Elections Commission recommends getting at least 25-35% more signatures than the minimum required, as there may be a large number of people who may sign your petition but not be registered or otherwise eligible. However, this does not guarantee the petition is good. Candidates should collect as many signatures as possible.
|District||Registered Voters||Required 5%||File With|
|Pickens County Soil &
Water Conservation District
Not Based on %
|County Council 3||11,646||583||Our Office|
|County Council 4||10,713||536||Our Office|
|County Council 5||12,473||624||Our Office|
|County Council 6||11,307||566||Our Office|
|State House of Representatives District 3||15,971||799||State Election Commission|
|State House of Representatives District 4||21,783||1,090||State Election Commission|
|State House of Representatives District 5||22,676||1,134||State Election Commission|
|State House of Representatives District 10||21,238||1,062||State Election Commission|
|State Senate District 1||52,908||2,646||State Election Commission|
|State Senate District 2||54,592||2,730||State Election Commission|
|U.S. House of Representatives District 3||369,182||10,000||State Election Commission|
Petitions for some local offices may have specific requirements set by state law that are different from the 5% requirement….as is the case with the Pickens County Soil & Water Conservation District Commissioners. Citizens wishing to be candidates for this office must submit to the Pickens County Registration & Elections Commission a nominating petition with the signatures of 100 qualified electors (registered voters) of the district or 1%, whichever is less.
All petitions must:
- Be printed on good quality original bond paper sized 8.5″ x 14″ (legal size…not letter).
- Contain the name of the petition candidate, the office for which he is running for, and the specific election date in which he is offering to run as a candidate must appear on EVERY page of the petition.
- Use the petition template provided by the SC State Election Commission (download it below)
- Contain only signatures from one county per petition page
- Have each signature numbered consecutively.
- Have each page numbered consecutively.
Candidates are required to complete ethics forms. State law requires these forms to be completed online. Both of the forms below must be electronically filed here: https://ssl.sc.gov/EthicsRegistration/Login/Login.aspx
- The Statement of Economic Interests (SEI) is for the candidate to complete at the time of filing his/her petition or already have completed. Candidates must file electronically, print all pages of the SEI form (the FULL form), and submit the completed form when they submit their petition. The State Ethics Act requires that candidates electronically file this form at the time of becoming a candidate and provide evidence of such filing with the official responsible for the election. If a candidate fails to electronically file the form at the time of filing as a candidate, his name shall not appear on the ballot. If through error or omission, a candidate’s name appears on the election ballot, the candidate shall not be certified subsequent to the election.
- The Campaign Disclosure Form. It is the responsibility of the candidate to electronically file this form, initially, within ten days after receiving or expending their first $500, to include their own money (please note an initial report is not required after every $500 spent or received). Thereafter, quarterly reports are due within ten days following the end of each calendar quarter before and after each election, until a final report with a zero balance is filed, whether contributions have been received or expenditures made. All candidates must electronically file a Pre-election report fifteen days before each election showing contribution and expenditure activity current as of 20 days before the election. This report is electronically filed even if no funds are received and no expenditures made. A Final Report is electronically filed when the campaign account is closed (i.e., no funds are in the account and no money is due or owed). NOTE: If a pre-election report is required to be filed within thirty days of the end of the prior calendar quarter, the quarterly report and pre-election report must be combined and filed to meet the pre-election report deadline.
***IMPORTANT NOTICE ABOUT FILING ETHICS FORMS: Neither the Pickens County Registration and Elections Commission nor the SC State Election Commission can provide you with advice or instructions on filing your Statement of Economics Interests Form and Campaign Disclosure Form with the SC Ethics Commission website. If you require assistance, you must contact the SC Ethics Commission directly at (803) 253-4192.
You can find more information on petitions here:
Persons collecting petition signatures can check to see whether voters that have signed their petition are registered, active, and inside the district of the office they are running for by looking them up here:
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Petitions
Q. Can a petition candidate or his supporters collect signatures within 200ft of a polling place?
A. Yes. The SC Attorney General has issued an opinion stating they can. Persons wishing to use petitions to get on the ballot in November CAN collect signatures within 200ft of the polling place during the June 12 Primary Elections, provided they:
- Make no solicitation of signatures inside a polling place (must be done outside the polling place)
- Restrict solicitation to voters as they leave polling place (not as they enter)
- Establish the point of solicitation to one side of the flow of voters to and from the polling place
- Advise the Executive Director of the Pickens County Registration & Elections Commission in advance of their plans to solicit signatures and the precincts in which the solicitation will occur. This way, he will be able to contact and prepare the affected precincts’ poll clerk.
- No campaign literature (in whatever form, including: signs, buttons, t-shirts, handouts/fliers, cookies) is allowed with 200ft of the polling places. The petition itself is not campaign literature.
- Do not interfere with or intimidate citizens entering or leaving the polling place.
Citizens must have the ability to enter the polling place without being harassed or bothered. No person shall block any sidewalk (or other path) that voters are using to get into or out of the precinct. Citizens should not be approached as they get in or out of their vehicle. Citizens who want to enter the voting place, vote, and leave without speaking to anyone must be able to do so.
The Poll Managers and Poll Clerk of each precinct will monitor this process. Persons acting in violation of the above will be asked to move beyond 200ft of the polling place.
Q. Can petitioners use signs saying “Please Sign Petition” within 200ft of the polling place, or would this constitute campaign literature?
A. No. Petitioners cannot have signs, posters, or other displays within 200ft. They can talk to voters and have them sign their petition, as long as it’s not interfering with the election .
Q. Can a candidate (or one of his/her supporters) that was removed from the primary ballots and is now collecting voter signatures within 200ft of the polling places during the June 12 Primaries provide/distribute a card to voters with his name on it along with an explanation as to why he is not on the primary ballots at the petition table within 200ft of the polling place.
A. No. There can be no distribution of campaign material within 200 ft. It is the opinion of the SC State Election Commission that this would constitute distribution of campaign material.
Q. Can the petitioner turn in copies of their petition (non-original) in lieu of turning in the original (ie.the original has been damaged or destroyed)?
A. No. Copies are not accepted. You must submit the pages with the original signatures on them.
Q. Can one voter sign multiple petitions for the same office?
A. Yes. There is no prohibition in state law against a voter signing multiple petitions for the same office.
Q. If a candidate is defeated in the June Primary or Runoff, can he/she run as a petition candidate?
A. No. Names of candidates who were defeated in a political party primary or convention may not appear on the ensuing general or special election ballot (S.C. Code of Laws Section 7-11-10).
Q. Can persons who were removed from the primary ballots this year by the Supreme Court run as petition candidates?
A. The SC Attorney General has issued an opinion stating they can.
Q. Does each signature line of the petition have to be complete? Can the petitioner add information to the petition, such as VR#, address, etc.?
A. The only thing required on each signature line is the signature. All additional information is there to assist officials in the Registration & Elections Commission Office with locating the voter’s record. If the voter signed neatly but did not provide additional information, we may be able to locate the signature. If so, the signature could be verified and would count. However, not all signatures are even legible. It is in the candidate’s best interest to collect as much information as possible from each person signing the petition so that the signature can be verified. It is permissible for the petitioner to go back and add information for the voter after the voter has signed the petition. Many candidates will purchase a voter registration list from the State Election Commission for this purpose. Candidates can also use online “Check Your Voter Registration” tool.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office.