Interested in what it takes to run for office? This summary is meant to serve as a brief guide for potential candidates.
To be placed on the ballot, you have to pick up a petition at the Wilson County Election Commission office located at 230 E. Gay Street, Lebanon, TN 37087. You must get 25 registered voters from the jurisdiction you are running in to sign the petition. The commission can only count registered voters who list the address we have on file. The petitions must be returned to the Election Commission office by the qualifying deadline. The candidate does not have to return it personally. The Election Commission does need the original petition - faxes or emails will not be accepted.
Before a candidate raises or spends any money, the candidate needs to file an "Appointment of Political Treasurer" with the Election Commission. This form is available on our website, WilsonElections.com. You can print it out online and bring it to us. We must have the original, so a fax or email will not work. You may file the Appointment of Political Treasurer at any time, but it must be filed before you raise or spend any money. The Registry of Election Finance has said that "incidental" expenses while you are thinking about running do not count.
You must file an Appointment of Treasurer for each election cycle. If you are running for re-election, or if you ran last time, a new Appointment of Treasurer needs to be filed. You can transfer the money over but you have to file a new form for each election.
For offices other than a Mayor or Chief Administrative Officer, a person may be exempt from filing a Campaign Financial Disclosure. The office for which a person seeks MUST be part-time, compensation less than $1,000 per month AND must have spent less than $1,000 on the campaign.
Candidates may not accept donations in cash that in the aggregate exceed fifty dollars ($50). (T.C.A. §2-10-311). The contribution limits in section 2-10-302 still apply. For local candidates, the maximum aggregate contribution for each election is one thousand six hundred dollars ($1,600).
The State Registry of Election Finance (615-741-7959) has jurisdiction over election finance issues. The Wilson County Election Commission files the reports and makes them available to the public. The Tennessee State Registry of Election Finance can answer any question you have about financial reports or requirements.
Within 30 days after the qualifying deadline, a candidate must file a Conflict of Interest Statement with the Tennessee Ethics Commission in Nashville (https://www.tn.gov/tref). You can contact them at 615-741-7959.
Once a candidate files an Appointment of Treasurer, the candidate is required to file periodic disclosure reports. The reports are to be filed quarterly during the election year and semi-annually in either the year(s) before or after. Additionally, a report is due 10 days before any election. Our office will notify you by mail of any forms due under this statute.
Here are some additional websites that might be helpful:
The Registry of Election Finance:
Tennessee Ethics Commission:
Please contact us with any questions you may have.