This page highlights some of the North Carolina candidate requirements. Keep reading to learn more, or click the links below to jump to a subject on this page.

Find upcoming candidate filing periods and filing location information at Running for Office.

Qualify To Be a Candidate

Unless otherwise specified, all candidates must be registered to vote in the state, qualified to vote in an election for the office sought, and 21 years of age by the date of the election. To find the specific requirements for certain offices, visit General Candidate Requirements.

Under state law, no person shall be permitted to file as a candidate in a party primary unless that person has been affiliated with that party for at least 90 days, as of the date that person files such notice of candidacy. A person registered as “unaffiliated” shall not be eligible to file as a candidate in a party primary election. 

North Carolina recognizes the following political parties, which will have primaries in 2024: The Democratic Party, the Green Party, the Libertarian Party, and the Republican Party. The No Labels Party will not have a party primary in 2024.

Filing a Notice of Candidacy

Any person seeking to become a candidate must file a notice of candidacy form.* Download the form, and find additional information at Notice of Candidacy.

*Notices of candidacy may not be delivered by surrogates or staff. Only the candidate may file the notice of candidacy and pay the filing fee in person at the appropriate board of elections. Alternatively, a candidate may have the candidate’s signature on the notice of candidacy acknowledged and certified by an officer authorized to take acknowledgments and administer oaths, in which case the candidate may mail or deliver by commercial courier service the candidate’s notice of candidacy to the appropriate board of elections. Please note that the candidate is not considered to have filed their mailed notice of candidacy until the appropriate board of elections receives it, provided it was before the end of the filing period.

Judicial Information

The North Carolina General Assembly has changed some districts for district judges and superior court judges. Please see Superior court divisions and districts; judges (N.C.G.S. § 7A-41) to obtain new district information.

Pay the Appropriate Filing Fee

Candidates must pay the filing fee when they file a notice of candidacy. Find salary and filing fees by office type, as well as information about where candidates for specific offices file their notice of candidacy at Filing Fees.

Mailing Your Notice of Candidacy

Please use the following address for USPS when mailing your notice of candidacy:

P.O. Box 27255
Raleigh, NC 27611-7255

Notices sent by FedEx or UPS overnight will require a physical address:

Dobbs Building, third floor
430 N. Salisbury St.
6400 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27603-1362

Disclose Any Felony Convictions

In addition to filing a notice of candidacy, a candidate must affirm whether or not they have ever been convicted of a felony by submitting the Felony Disclosure Form (fillable PDF). This form is for candidates not running for sheriff.

Candidates for Sheriff

Effective 2021, candidates for sheriff may not file for candidacy if they have been convicted of a felony, even if the felony was expunged. Before filing, candidates must complete several forms and a disclosure statement verifying that they have had no prior felony convictions or expungements. Find the forms and additional information at Sheriffs’ Training & Standards Division | NCDOJ. A person who receives an unconditional pardon of innocence for their felony may file for the office of sheriff or be appointed to that office.

Candidates Other Than Sheriff

A candidate’s prior felony conviction does not preclude holding elective office if the candidate’s rights of citizenship have been restored. A felony conviction need not be disclosed if the conviction was dismissed as a result of reversal on appeal or resulted in a pardon of innocence or expungement.

Organize a Candidate Committee

Within 10 days of first activity, a candidate must file an Organizational Report.

What is the “First Activity”?

A candidate committee is required to register with a board of elections within ten days of taking the first among certain activities that are deemed to have begun the committee’s organization. The first of the following activities by the candidate starts the ten days:

  1. Receiving money or anything of value in support of the campaign; or
  2. Spending money in support of the campaign; or
  3. Giving consent for anyone else to receive money or spend money for the purpose of bringing about that individual’s nomination or election for office; or
  4. Filing a notice of candidacy.

Find more information at Candidate Committees.

Review the Signage Requirements

Neither the county boards nor the State Board regulates the placement of signage except at polling sites. Signs fall under Regulation of signs (N.C.G.S. § 136-32) and are under the purview of the Department of Transportation or the individual municipality. In terms of signs on private property, that is the purview of the property owner and possibly their HOA if one exists.

Review the signage requirement guidelines at the Littering Statutes Filing Fact Sheet (PDF). For the basic disclosure requirements for print, radio, and television advertisements, visit Disclosure Legends.