Making Democracy Work

How To Run For A Political Office

Instructions on How to Run For A Political Office

Instructions

HOW TO RUN FOR OFFICE A GUIDE FROM THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF PERRYSBURG

League of Women Voters of the Perrysburg Area, P.O. Box 712, Perrysburg, OH 43552-0712

E-mail: info@perrysburg.oh.lwvnet.org

This page provides general information and background on running for local, county, state, and national office. For more specific and current information, please contact one of the officials or offices listed below. ___________________________________________________________

HOW TO RUN FOR OFFICE
Each governmental body--the City of Perrysburg, the local townships and school districts as well as county, state and national bodies--maintains different processes by which potential candidates are selected, nominated and elected. The sections below explore specifically how to run for an office at the local, county, state or national level. ___________________________________________________________

RUNNING FOR A LOCAL OFFICE:
The governmental bodies in the Perrysburg area are separate and independent from one another.

However, each is responsible to the voters!

The local Perrysburg-area elected governmental positions and the governmental bodies to which they belong are:

  • The City of Perrysburg Mayor (1) and Council (7)
  • The Perrysburg Exempted Village Schools Board of Education (5) and
  • The Perrysburg Township Trustees (3)

The basic process to run for any office involves getting election forms and petitions from the Wood County Board of Elections and then obtaining the required number of signatures to qualify as a candidate. The number of signatures needed depends on the governmental entity, voter turnout from prior elections, and the office for which a candidate runs.

This page provides basic information. Seek out and request current information, specific dates, and the appropriate forms from the sources listed:

  • School Board: The Board of Elections of the County has the proper documents needed to start a candidacy. The package should contain petitions, and any other forms that need to be prepared to get a name on the official ballot. For information specific to the election see: http://www.co.wood.oh.us/Boe/.

    The Secretary of the School Board--the CFO or Treasurer--of the school district can provide more information as to the requirements of the position in terms of times of meetings and numbers of meetings, the Sunshine Law, pay, ethical filings, etc. Interested candidates should ask for notification of public meetings and for a copy of the upcoming agenda of each meeting. Attending meetings before running for office is highly recommended. The Perrysburg School Board meets the third Monday at 7 p.m. at the Commodore Building, 140 E. Indiana Avenue. For information about Perrysburg Schools, visit their website at http://www.perrysburgschools.net.

    During election years, which are odd numbered, sometimes school groups host informational meetings to allow potential candidates to explore what is involved in being on the school board. There are also usually citizen committees that work on the various needs of the District. Service on such a committee provides a greatbasis for learning about the District and its issues. Often, candidates for School Board have experience as a volunteer within a school building or buildings as well.

    The school board's elected officials serve overlapping terms of four years. In other words, two serve a simultaneous four-year term ending in 2007 and the remaining three serve a term that is also four years long and ends in 2009. School Board elections are nonpartisan, though candidates may choose to indicate their political party in their advertisements and/or campaign literature. The Board President and Vice President are selected by the members of the school board and serve a one-year term.

    For more information,contact your local school board CFO/Treasurer or the Ohio Association of School Boards (OSBA) at http://www.osba-ohio.org. This is a valuable resource after attaining office as well since OSBA provides training for new Board of Education members and new Board Presidents.

  • PERRYSBURG TOWNSHIP: The rules and
    responsibilities of Township Trustees are
    addressed in the Ohio Revised Code. The pertinent
    sections can be found at
    http://onlinedocs.andersonpublishing.com/oh.
    Title V is a section of State law specific to
    townships. However, all election material is
    found at the Wood County Board of Elections at One
    Courthouse Square, Bowling Green, Ohio. Their
    website was listed earlier in this document, but
    you may also reach them by mail, in person or by
    telephone at (419) 354-9120.

    Trustee meetings are held on the first and third
    Mondays of each month at 7:30 p.m. and are open
    to the public. They meet at the Township
    offices, 26609 Lime City Road near the
    intersection of US 20. Interested candidates
    should attend several of these meetings. Call
    872-8861 to request notification of and agendas
    for Perrysburg Township's upcoming meetings. The
    Township also has a website which is
    http://perrysburgtownship.us/.

    Election years are odd numbered. Two trustees run
    every four years with their term ending in 2011
    and overlap with the third trustee who has a four-
    year term that ends in 2009. Trustees are both
    the executive and the legislative branch of a
    Township, but may have a professional
    administrator, as is the case with Perrysburg
    Township's John Hrosko, who runs the Township's
    daily business.

    Townships also have an elected Clerk. The Clerk's
    duties are to provide record keeping, bookkeeping
    and to pay the employees and the vendors of the
    Township. The Clerk's term ends 3/31/12.

    The Township has two Trustee-appointed
    Committees that may provide valuable experience
    for a potential candidate for Trustee. They are
    the Zoning Commission and the Board of Zoning
    Appeals.

    For more information on the duties and
    responsibilities of Township trustees, please
    check the Ohio Township Association website at
    http://www.ohiotownships.org. They may also be reached
    at (614) 863-0045 or at OTA, 5969 E. Livingston
    Ave., Ste 110, Columbus, OH 43232-2970. This
    organization provides legislative information,
    training, networking, and lobbying on behalf of
    Ohio's Townships.

  • CITY OF PERRYSBURG: The Mayor and three Council members run for four-year terms in opposite odd years from the overlapping terms of the other four Council members. The Mayor's and three Council members' terms end in 2009. The four concurrent Council terms run through 2011. Candidates may choose to designate their political party on their campaign literature or advertisements, but the ballot is nonpartisan.

    The best training ground for candidates comes from those who have served terms on the City's various citizen Boards, Committees and Commissions. They include Planning Commission, Board of Zoning Appeals, Civil Service Commission, Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee, Historic Landmarks Commission, Street Tree Commission, Litter Control Board, Way Public Municipal Library Board, Board of Income Tax Review, and Community Improvement Council/Revolving Loan Fund Committee.

    Potential candidates should also attend meetings of Council and/or Committees, Boards or Commissions. The Clerk of Council/Finance Director is the person to contact for meeting times and agenda. The current City Council meeting days and times are the first and third Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. The meetings are at 201 W. Indiana Avenue in the Municipal Building. The City's Internet address is http://www.ci.perrysburg.oh.us.

    In the City of Perrysburg, most business is done via Council Committee and then recommended by the Committee to the Council as a whole for a vote at the Council meeting. In order to understand the discussion and decision-making process on an issue, it is advisable to attend those committee meetings in which it is discussed, though the minutes are public information.

As with the other offices, election information is
available through the Board of Elections of Wood
County.

For more information contact about running
for political office in Perrysburg, the following
can assist:

  • Dave Creps, Perrysburg Finance Director/Clerk of Council; (419) 872-8030
  • The Ohio Municipal League (OML); www.omunileague.org; 175 S. Third St., Ste. 510, Columbus, Ohio 43215; (614) 221-4349

The OML provides training for new and veteran
council members and legislative information as
well as networking, lobbying, and information for
its member communities.

The City also has a Municipal Court Judge whose term
is six years and ends in 2013. Please contact the
Ohio Bar Association and the Wood County Board of
Elections for more information on the qualifications
required to run for Judge.

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RUNNING FOR COUNTY, STATE OR NATIONAL OFFICE:

  • COUNTY: To run for office in Wood County, contact: The Wood County Election Commission: (419) 243-4223. The address and direct telephone number is provided earlier in this document. The staff will provide a packet containing the relevant forms and information. Most candidates work through the Democratic or Republican party at the County level, which are provided for in the Ohio Revised Code.

    The County elective offices are:

  • Commissioner--three seats, four-year term, one ends the first week in 2010, two end the first week in 2009
  • Auditor--four-year term ending the first week in 2011
  • Prosecutor--four-year term ending the first week in 2009
  • Treasurer--four-year term ending the first week in September 2009
  • Recorder--four-year term ending the first week in 2009
  • Engineer--four-year term ending the first week in 2009
  • Coroner--four-year term ending the first week in 2009
  • Clerk of Courts--four-year term ending the first week in 2009
  • Sheriff--four-year term ending the first week in 2009
  • Common Pleas Court--four positions, including one that handles only Probate and Juvenile cases, each has a six-year term, the terms end in 2009, 2010, 2013 and 2014

Several of the above mentioned seats require special
qualifications in order to run for the office.
Contact the specific office, the Secretary of State
or the Wood County Board of Elections for more
information.

In Wood County, the local Democratic Party website
is http://www.woodcodemocrats.org. The Republican Party's
local website is http://www.woodgop.org.

  • State or National: Running for state or national office usually involves working through established political parties, such as the Republican or Democrat parties. However, some people run for office as independents or through new political parties, such as the Green Party. For more information about running for state or national office, contact the Secretary of State, who is the top elections official in Ohio, at http://www.sos.state.oh.us.

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IN GENERAL...

  • Running for any office always involves filling out the required forms at the proper times, collecting a designated number of petition signatures, and campaigning.
  • Campaigning for office can mean making speeches to voters, doing interviews with the press, canvassing neighborhoods, attending public events, and advertising -- through fliers or signs, as well as via media outlets such as newspapers and TV.
  • Campaigning on the local level doesn't have to be expensive. There is much to be gained through having a campaign committee that helps to shoulder the financial and logistical burden for the candidate. Candidates with good local name recognition may not need to spend much money. Financial disclosures for pre-election and post- election periods are available at the Wood County Board of Elections. They are public information and will allow a candidate to project an elections budget, locate politically active donors, and identify potential campaign committee members.
  • Good candidates spend time learning the skills that will help them succeed in their run for office and as an officeholder. This includes attending meetings to learn the issues and the peculiarities and responsibilities of a particular elected body, working on the campaigns of others who have run for office or on ballot issues to learn the art of campaigning, and reaching out to the public to better learn and represent their issues and needs.
  • Ethical considerations of public officials are paramount. To research the requirements of the various offices please see the State of Ohio Ethics Commission's website at ethicsohio.gov.

For more information, contact the League of Women Voters of the Perrysburg Area. Thanks to the Glen Ellyn, Illinois League of Women Voters for sharing their wonderful web page ideas. Thank you also to Terry Burton of the Wood County Board of Elections who provided much of the information in this document.

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