How to Run for Office

There is both art and science to running a successful election campaign.

Step One: Meet the requirements

Step Two: Choose the office

There are literally hundreds of offices to choose from. Check out our list of offices to find one. We recommend that you start by running for local offices within your town or county. The experience you gain and contacts you make will be invaluable for future runs at larger offices. However, we need libertarians on the ballot at every level to help the Party gain recognition and status, so any office you are interested in is a good one.

Step Three: Get on the ballot

Candidate forms and petition signatures are generally required to get on the ballot. The number of signatures varies by office. You can contact us, the State Board of Elections (SBE), or your local County Clerk for details. The Candidates Guide on the SBE website contains signature requirements for all offices above the County level.

If you decide to collect petition signatures, please contact us so we can coordinate our efforts.

Step Four: Determine your level of activity

Some Libertarians run active campaigns with the intent to win. Others become "paper candidates," basically putting their name on the ballot to promote the Party and give people an opportunity to vote for liberty.

Whichever path you choose, we do ask that you:

  • Return media calls promptly. It's the best way to get publicity on you and the libertarian viewpoint. Have a quality photo and a succinct answer to "Why are you running for this office?" prepared.
  • Answer questionnaires you receive from political and community groups. You can win priceless endorsements this way.
  • Attend candidate forums you are invited to, or at least respond with regrets if you cannot attend.
  • Comply with contribution filing requirements and campaign ethics rules.

Step Five: Persuade Voters

If you want people to vote for you, they have to know you, like you, and trust you. Every communication should further these goals.

Remember, a political campaign is not about you, it's not about libertarian philosophy, it's about the people in your district. Decide how you can solve their problems, address their concerns, and ease their worries.

The number of issues you could tackle is overwhelming. Consider focusing on 2 or 3 issues that are most important to the average person.

Above all, have fun! This is your chance to talk to people, tell them about libertarian solutions, and make a difference in our society.

For More Information

There are many resources available to help you run an effective campaign. If you are ready to sign up or would like to talk in more detail, contact us. Please note, however, that while the LP Illinois can assist you with your campaign, we do not manage or fund campaigns.