Candidate materials


City of Bolivar District Map

Becoming a candidate

To start the process of becoming a candidate, you must first must obtain at least 25 valid signatures of registered voters in the district where you are running.

The Qualifying Petition must be returned to our office no later than 12:00 noon on the 3rd Thursday of the 3rd month prior to the Election.

You must also complete the following candidate forms:

1. Appointment of Political Treasurer. (You may appoint yourself as treasurer.)

2. Statement of Interest. (i.e., Conflict of Interest Statement)

What is a valid signature?
A qualifying petition must contain at least 25 signatures of qualified voters of the district, city or county in which you are running.

  • A qualified voter is a registered voter who is: a citizen of the U.S.; a resident of the State of Tennessee; 18 years old or older or will be 18 by the day of the election; & a non-felon (or they have had their voting rights restored)
  • The signer must give his/her residence address. “P.O. Boxes” as the only address cannot be counted as valid.

Who may be a Write-In Candidate?
  • There are no qualifications for a write-in candidate.
  • Anyone may be written-in.
  • For a write-in candidate in a primary election to be nominated for office, statutory requirements must be met:
    • No write-in candidate in a primary election for a position as a state, county or municipal office shall have such candidate’s name placed upon the ballot in the election unless the candidate receives at least (25) votes.
    • If there are no candidates listed on the ballot in the primary election, the candidate must receive at least (5%) of the votes cast in the primary on election day.
Important note:
Any person attempting to be elected by write-in ballots shall complete a notice requesting that such person’s ballots be counted in each county of the district such candidate is running in, no later than (50) days before the election.

Such person shall only have votes counted in counties where such notice was completed and timely filed.  The notice prescribed by the State Division of Elections shall be accepted.

Ballot order

Only candidates for municipal offices and county school board offices are listed in alphabetical order. Both are required by law to run as Non-Partisan (no party affiliation).

The order of the offices are required to be listed on the ballot as follows:

1.  Circuit Court Judges
2.  Chancellor
3.  District Attorney General
4.  Public Defender
5.  County Mayor
6.  County Commissioners
7.  Assessor of Property
8.  County Trustee
9.  General Sessions Judge
10.  Sheriff
11.  Circuit Court Clerk
12.  Juvenile Court Clerk
13.  County Clerk
14.  Register
15.  School Board Members
16.  Constables
17.  Municipal Executive Offices
18.  Municipal Legislative Offices
19.  Municipal Judicial Offices

Raising and spending money

If a candidate is seeking an office for which service is part-time, compensation is less than $500 a month and the candidate does not spend more than $1,000 to get elected to office, the candidate does not have to file campaign disclosure statements, unless the office sought is a Chief Administrative Office.

Most candidates for public office are required to file three types of campaign finance forms:

1. Appointment of Political Treasurer
2. Conflict of Interest Statement
3. Financial Disclosure Statement

The Political Treasurer form should be filed within (30) days of the qualifying deadline.

As a candidate, you must file quarterly financial disclosure reports. The first one is a Pre-Election Report. The pre-election report covers the period from the time you became a candidate to the 10th day before the election.

In the Financial Disclosure report, any contribution valued at more than $100.00 must be recorded on the report, which will include the contributor’s name, address, how much money was contributed and if possible, the contributor’s occupation.

If you have an open account you must file a semi-annual supplemental report during the years when you do not have an election.

An open account means that there was something other than zero entered beside “balance on hand” or “total loans outstanding” or “total obligations outstanding” on the previously filed report.

For semi-annual reporting, the first reporting period ends on January 15 and the report is due on January 31.

The second reporting period ends on June 30 and the report is due on July 15.

If it is your election year, you must file quarterly reports in addition to the pre-primary and pre-general reports.

Where do I file my campaign reports?
If you are running for county or city office, file your reports at the Hardeman County Election Commission office.  2018 Filing Dates

If you are running for State office, file your reports at the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance in Nashville. Find your forms and deadlines on the Registry of Election Finance website.

Can I contribute to my own campaign? And if so, how much?
Yes. You can contribute up to $20,000 to your own campaign.

How much money or services rendered can an individual contribute to a candidate?
  • For a local office - $1,000
  • For a statewide office- $2,500
  • Note: under the recently passed Ethics Law, a candidate cannot accept a cash contribution of more than $50.

How much money or services rendered can a Multi-Candidate Campaign Committee contribute to a candidate?
  • For a statewide office or the senate- $7,500 
  • For any other state or local office- $5,000

Under what circumstances would a candidate be required to file a detailed campaign financial disclosure report?
  • When the office is a full-time office;
  • When the compensation for the office is $500.00 or more per month; or
  • When the public office is for that of a Chief Administrative Officer; or
  • When the candidate’s expenditures for the election exceed $1,000.00

Activity at the polling place

A candidate is allowed to appoint a poll watcher at each polling place. The appointment must be in writing and turned in to the election commission office no later than 12:00 noon on the (2nd) day before the Election.

  • Poll watchers can only observe the activity inside and around the polling place.
  • Poll watchers cannot assist voters or accompany voters inside the voting booth.
  • Poll watchers cannot talk to voters or interfere with the process whatsoever.
  • Poll watchers can only speak with the Officer of Elections at a polling place.

How close can a candidate or a candidate’s representative hand out campaign literature and/or solicit votes for a candidate?
A candidate cannot come closer than 100 feet from the entrance to any polling place where there is voting taking place, unless the candidate is voting.

Can a voter carry a sample ballot into the polling place?
Yes, as long as the voter does not show it to any other voters.

What if a voter has a campaign sign or sticker on their vehicle when they come into the polling place to vote? Are they allowed to vote?
Yes, as long as they go straight inside to vote, then vote and leave immediately. The vehicle cannot be left inside the 100 foot boundary once the voter has completed voting.

Forms and other resources

Appointment of Political Treasurer form

Instructions for Campaign Finance Disclosure Statements

Complete set of Campaign Finance Disclosure Statements

Front page of Campaign Finance Disclosure Statement

Summary page of Campaign Finance Disclosure Statement

Itemized Statement of Contributions form

Itemized Statement of In-kind Contributions form

Itemized Statement of Expenditures form

Itemized Statement of Loans form

Itemized Statement of Obligations form

Judicial candidates - Front page of Campaign Finance Disclosure Statement

Hardeman County election calendar