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Candidate Filing Information

May 19, 2020 Primary Election

Please review the following information that details instructions for Candidate Filing for the May 19, 2020 Election.  All information listed here is subject to legislative change.  Interested candidates are strongly encouraged to review the County, City, and District Candidate's Manual.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at 503.655.8510, or e-mail your inquiries to

Filing Dates
September 12, 2019 First Day to File for Candidacy
March 10, 2020 Last Day to File for Candidacy
March 12, 2020 (Clackamas County and Metro Candidates only) Last Day to File Candidate Statement for Voters’ Pamphlet
March 23, 2020 (City of Portland Candidates only) Last Day to File Candidate Statement for Voters’ Pamphlet

Filing for Candidacy

Candidates may file for candidacy one of two ways:

1. Filing by Declaration

Fill out and turn in SEL 101 (Filing of Candidacy for Nonpartisan Nomination); and pay the filing fee

-- or --

2. Filing by Nominating Petition

Step 1 - Prospective Petition:

To begin the signature sheet approval process candidates must file the following forms with County Elections office.

  • SEL 101 - Candidate Filing – Marked Prospective Petition and designating circulator pay status
  • SEL 121 - Candidate Signature Sheet – Nonpartisan with all fields completed.

Step 2 - Approval to Circulate

Upon receipt, elections official will review for required information and will provide written approval to circulate the prospective nominating petition that includes:

  • petition number
  • number of signatures required
  • filing deadline

All signature sheets must be approved in writing by the elections official before circulating. Failure to do so will result in the rejection of the signature sheets.

Step 3 - Gathering Petition Signatures

After approval, the candidate must review with circulators the legal requirements and guidelines for circulating a candidate nominating petition. The candidate/circulator may now begin gathering signatures. Failure to comply with the legal requirements and guidelines will result in rejection of those sheets. A candidate is advised to obtain more than the required number of signatures to ensure the petition has a sufficient number of valid signatures.

Step 4 - Signature Verification

The candidate submits the signature sheets to the appropriate county elections official for verification allowing sufficient time for the verification process to be completed prior to the filing deadline.

Before submitting the signature sheets for verification, the candidate must:

  • ensure each signature sheet certification is signed and dated by the circulator
  • number each signature sheet sequentially within each county in the space provided

The county elections official verifies the original signatures against the voters’ registration record and returns the certified signature sheets to the candidate.

Step 5 - Completing a Petition

To complete the petition process a candidate must file signature sheets with the elections office. The elections official will review each signature sheet to ensure that sheets are numbered sequentially and that the circulator’s certification is sufficient. The signatures will be verified and processed. The valid signatures will be tabulated. If the elections official determines the petition does not contain the required number of valid signatures and the filing deadline has not passed, the candidate may submit additional signatures.

Campaign Finance

Each candidate must establish a campaign account (filing form SEL 223) and file a Statement of Organization (form SEL 220) designating a candidate committee, unless the candidate meets the following requirements:

  1. the candidate serves as their own treasurer;
  2. the candidate does not have an existing candidate committee;
  3. the candidate does not expect to spend or receive more than $750.00 for the entire election.

The Secretary of State is the filing officer for all campaign finance forms for candidates and committees. For more information or questions, contact the Secretary of State at 503.986.1518.

Voters' Pamphlet Statements

After filing, a candidate may elect to submit an Candidate Statement for inclusion in the County Voters' Pamphlet. This filing is optional. Should a candidate choose not to make a submission they will not appear in the Voters' Pamphlet. Please review the instructions for both the Candidate Statement form as well as the Statement of Endorsement form that can be used in conjunction with your statement.

Deadlines for Voters' Pamphlet Statements:

  • March 12, 2020 - Clackamas County and Metro offices.
  • Monday, March 23, 2020 - City of Portland offices

Multnomah and Washington Counties also prepare voters’ pamphlets. (If your name will appear on the ballot in more than one county, and you wish to be included in another county’s voters’ pamphlet, you must file your voters’ pamphlet material and pay each county’s required fee.)


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Office Hours:

⚠ Due to COVID-19, our offices are closed to the public. At this time the closure is expected to continue through April 20. Our employees are available and working to meet your needs remotely.

Monday through Thursday
8:30 5 p.m.

8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Election Day
7 a.m. to 8 p.m.