If you are planning to run in a primary, you should check with your preferred political party to make sure that you meet their definition of a “bona fide” member of that party.
Once you have decided which office you are going to run for, you need to pick up a petition from either location of the Shelby County Election Commission. There is a specific time frame to pick up petitions in each election, so check the election information page on this website for deadlines. Petitions must be picked up in person although it may be picked up by someone other than the candidate. However, the candidate must sign the center section of the petition. It cannot be signed by a campaign representative.
The next step is to obtain 25 valid signatures from registered voters who live in your district. Get extra signatures; many will not be valid and each one is validated by the Election Commission.
Once you have the signatures, return the petition to either office before the time deadline. Please note that the deadline is always Noon on the deadline date. We recommend bringing the petition back as soon as possible. In case there aren’t enough valid signatures, you will have time to get more.
After we verify the signatures on the petition, you will be notified by mail about the status of your petition. If your petition has sufficient signatures, it will be presented to the Shelby County Election Commission for certification. Once the Election Commission has certified the petition, your name will be on the ballot.
Should you change your mind about running, you must withdraw your petition before the withdrawal deadline. Otherwise, your name will appear on the ballot.
All candidates are required to file campaign financial disclosures. Visit this page
for more information on candidate responsibilities from the Bureau of Campaign Finance.
Candidates must also file a Statement of Interest with the Tennessee Ethics Commission. For more information, please visit this page.