Although Washington politics attract lots of attention, government at the local level has the most impact on our daily lives. Whether it’s the condition of roads and streets, the quality of schools, zoning issues, availability of parks and recreational opportunities, or the quality of public services, government at the township, city, and county level directly impacts the value of our property and the quality of our lives.
Yet, too often people overlook the many opportunities for public service at the local level. Some people feel they don’t have the time or expertise to run, while others feel they have little chance of winning because of their partisan affiliation or because they are not part of an in-group of community leaders.
The Knox County Democratic Party is the party of the people. We believe all citizens have a role to play in our government, and we strongly encourage citizens with an interest in the wellbeing of our communities to pursue elective office at all levels of government.
This brief guide highlights the different elective offices available and will outline some ways in which the Knox County Democratic Party will serve candidates who have been nominated on the Democratic ticket and endorsed by the party.
Most local offices in Knox County are nonpartisan—that is, candidates are not nominated during a partisan primary and do not appear on the general election ballot with a party label. All township trustee and officer positions and school board positions are nonpartisan.
All positions with the city of Mount Vernon (mayor, city council, auditor, treasurer, and director of law) are partisan positions, as are all countywide positions (commissioner, sheriff, engineer, treasurer, auditor, etc.). Judicial positions are nominated during the partisan primary, but party affiliation is not disclosed on the general election ballot in these races.
Requirements for campaigning
To begin a run for office, candidates must first collect signatures on official declaration of candidacy forms. These forms can be obtained at the Knox County Board of Elections and must be turned in by the filing deadline, accompanied by the filing deadline. The number of signatures required varies depending on the office. Since signatures can be rejected for a variety of reasons, candidates are urged to collect many more than the minimum number required.
Filing deadlines are as follows:
- For candidates in nonpartisan races: 90 days before the general election
- For candidates in partisan races: 90 days before the primary election
After candidates declare their candidacies, they must first set up a campaign committee and declare a campaign treasurer with the board of elections before they can raise or spend money. Fundraising and campaign finance filing requirements are available from the board of elections and from the Ohio Secretary of State.
For local partisan races, if no more than the minimum number of candidates a party may nominate in that race files to run in the primary, no primary election is held for that race. Instead, the candidate who files is automatically considered the party’s nominee.
If more candidates than the party may nominate file to run in the primary, the winner of the primary election is considered the party’s nominee.