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Candidates & Campaigns

Running for Office

There are certain requirements which must be met to serve as public officials. For instance, there are minimum age requirements tied to each elected office, and elected officials in Philadelphia must live in Philadelphia for a certain period of time prior to their election. The charts below summarize these date and age requirements. US citizenship is a requirement for all elected offices in Pennsylvania. For campaign finance requirements, please visit the Campaign Finance page.

Important: City employees may not run for any elected office they don’t already hold. Please see Article X of the City Charter or contact the Board of Ethics for more information.
Prospective candidates for office must also file nomination petitions or nomination papers in order to appear on the Primary or General Election ballot. These petitions and papers are circulated by candidates and their representatives to gather signatures from registered electors. Nomination petitions are filed by candidates running with a major political party (Democratic or Republican) prior to a Primary Election.
There are currently no nomination petitions available for municipal offices.

Nomination Papers are filed by candidates running with a minor political party or political body, which would include all other candidates, prior to a General Election. Nomination petitions and papers for federal and state offices must be gotten from and filed with the Pennsylvania Department of State – this includes all Judicial positions. Candidates for Municipal offices file with the Philadelphia County Board of Elections.

There are currently no nomination papers available for municipal offices.

Did you know?
Pennsylvania has two major political parties – Democratic and Republican – and two minor political parties – Green and Libertarian.

Candidates nominated at the Primary Election and candidates who file Nomination Papers with other political parties will appear on the General Election ballot.

Nicknames are allowed only if they’re a derivative of the candidate’s legal name, or if it’s how the candidate is known in their community. If a candidate wishes to use a nickname on the ballot, a Name Change Affidavit should be completed and submitted to the County Board of Elections

Additional details regarding the number of signatures required for each office, the timelines for circulating, and the filing fees (if any) can be found in the charts below. Offices marked with an asterisk (*) are party-specific, and are only elected in Primary Elections.

Local Offices (file with the Philadelphia Board of Elections)
Office Age Residency Term Upcoming elections Term Limitation
Mayor 25 3 years 4 years 2023, 2027, etc. No more than two consecutive terms
District Attorney 25 1 year; 2 years as a lawyer 4 years 2025, 2029, etc.
City Controller 25 1 year 4 years 2025, 2029, etc.
City Commissioner 25 3 years 4 years 2023, 2027, etc.
Register of Wills 25 1 year 4 years 2023, 2027, etc.
Sheriff 25 1 year 4 years 2023, 2027, etc.
At-Large City Council 25 1 year 4 years 2023, 2027, etc.
District City Council 25 1 year in district 4 years 2023, 2027, etc.
Judge of Election 18 Registered in division 4 years 2025, 2029, etc.
Inspector of Election 18 Registered in division 4 years 2025, 2029, etc.
Committeeperson* 18 Registered in division 4 years 2025, 2026, etc.
State Offices
Office Term Upcoming elections Term Limitation
Governor 4 years 2022, 2026, etc. No more than two consecutive term
Lieutenant Governor * 4 years 2022, 2026, etc. Nominees are elected in the Primary Election and run as a part of the gubernatorial ticket in the General Election. No more than two consecutive terms
Attorney General 4 years 2024, 2028 etc.
Auditor General 4 years 2024, 2028 etc.
State Treasurer 4 years 2024, 2028 etc
State Senate 4 years Even-numbered State Senate seats are elected in 2022, 2026, etc. Odd-numbered State Senate seats are elected in 2024, 2028, etc.
State House of Representatives 2 years 2022, 2024, etc.
State Committee* 4 years 2022, 2026, etc.
National Convention Delegate* 4 years 2024, 2028, etc.
National Convention Alternate Delegate* 4 years 2024, 2028, etc.
Judicial Offices
  • Supreme Court of the Commonwealth
  • Superior Court
  • Commonwealth Court
  • Court of Common Pleas
  • Municipal Court
Federal Offices
Office Term Upcoming elections Term Limitation
President 4 years 2024, 2028, etc. No more than two terms
U.S. Senate 6 years The seat currently held by Senator Toomey is elected in 2022, 2028, etc. The seat currently held by Senator Casey is elected in 2024, 2030, etc.
U.S. House of Representatives 2 years 2022, 2024, etc.
Nomination Petitions and Filing Fees
  • Circulated not prior to the thirteenth Tuesday before the primary and not later than the tenth Tuesday at 5:00 P.M. prior to the primary.
  • Filed in the form prescribed by the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
  • Preamble introducing the candidate must be completed prior to gathering any signatures.
  • Signed by duly registered and enrolled members of such party who are qualified electors of the state or political district within which the nomination is to be made or election is to be held.
  • Each petition shall include the statement of the circulator of each sheet, which must be signed by the circulator after gathering all signatures
Office Required Number of Signatures Filing Fee
President of the United States Two thousand (2,000) $200
United States Senate Two thousand (2,000) $200
Representative in Congress One thousand (1,000) $150
Governor Two thousand (2,000) including at least one hundred (100) from each of at least ten (10) counties $200
Lieutenant Governor One thousand (1,000) including at least one hundred (100) from each of at least five (5) counties $200
Attorney General One thousand (1,000) including at least one hundred (100) from each of at least five (5) counties $200
Auditor General One thousand (1,000) including at least one hundred (100) from each of at least five (5) counties $200
Treasurer One thousand (1,000) including at least one hundred (100) from each of at least five (5) counties $200
Justice of the Supreme Court One thousand (1,000) including at least one hundred (100) from each of at least five (5) counties $200
Judge of the Superior Court One thousand (1,000) including at least one hundred (100) from each of at least five (5) counties $200
Judge of the Commonwealth Court One thousand (1,000) including at least one hundred (100) from each of at least five (5) counties $200
Judge of the Court of Common Pleas One thousand (1,000) $100
Judge of the Municipal Court One thousand (1,000) $100
Senator in the General Assembly Five hundred (500) $100
Representative in the General Assembly Three hundred (300) $100
Mayor One thousand (1,000) $100
District Attorney One thousand (1,000) $100
City Controller One thousand (1,000) $100
City Commissioner One thousand (1,000) $100
Register of Wills One thousand (1,000) $100
Sheriff One thousand (1,000) $100
City Council at Large One thousand (1,000) $100
City Council District Member Seven hundred and fifty (750) $100
Judge of Election Ten (10) $0
Inspector of Election Five (5) $0
Delegate and Alternate Delegate to a National Party Convention Two hundred and fifty (250) $25
Member of State Committee One hundred (100) $25
Committeeperson Ten (10) $0
Nomination Papers (Minor Political Parties and Independent Candidates)
  • Circulated not prior to the tenth Wednesday before the primary and not later than August 1st or the first Monday in August (if August 1st is on a Saturday or Sunday).
  • Filed in the form prescribed by the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
  • Preamble introducing the candidate and the Committee to Fill Vacancies (for a candidate running with a political body) must be completed prior to gathering any signatures.
  • Signed by qualified electors of the state or political district within which the nomination is to be made or election is to be held.
  • Each nomination paper shall include the statement of the circulator of each sheet, which must be signed by the circulator after gathering all signatures.

To be eligible as the candidate of a minor political party or political body, a candidate may not be registered and enrolled as a member of a major political party between thirty (30) days before the primary and extending through the general or municipal election of that same year.

The number of signers required for nomination papers shall be at least equal to 2 percent (2%) of the largest entire vote cast for any officer elected at the last preceding election in said electoral district for which said nomination papers are to be filed. However, the number of signers shall not be less than the number of signers required for nomination petitions for party candidates for the same office.

Running for office as an independent candidate and unsure how many signatures you must gather? Contact the Pennsylvania State Department or Philadelphia County Board of Elections to find out!