To be nominated by petition, a candidate must file a nominating petition containing the valid signatures of at least 5% of the active, registered voters in the geographical area the office represents. The 5% is based on the total number of registered voters in the geographical area 120 days prior to the election. No petition requires more than 10,000 signatures. (Petitions for some local offices may have specific requirements set by state law that are different from the 5% requirement.)
The last date to file a petition for a General Election is 12:00 noon, July 15th of the General Election year. If July 15th falls on a Sunday, the deadline is noon on the following Monday. Generally, there are no filing fees for petition candidates. However, it is possible for a local jurisdiction, such as a municipality, to require a filing fee in addition to a petition. Always check with the authority with which you are required to file.
Petition candidates for multi-county offices must file their petitions with the State Election Commission. All petition candidates for State Senate, State House of Representatives, and Solicitor file with the State Election Commission, regardless of whether they are multi-county or not. Other county wide and less than county wide offices file their petitions with their county election commission.
Petition candidates must also file a Statement of Economic Interest (SEI) with the State Ethics Commission. This must be done electronically on the State Ethics Commission website. Candidates are also be required to make Campaign Disclosure reports. Candidates who fail to file Ethics forms properly may face fines, but failure to file Ethics forms does not prevent a candidate's name from being placed on the ballot or prevent the candidate from winning the election. Visit the State Ethics Commission website for more information on filing Ethics forms.
The petition must be in a form prescribed in S.C. Code of Laws section 7-11-80 (See link to sample petition below). Petitions must:
- Be printed on good quality original bond paper sized 8.5" x 14".
- Contain a concise statement of purpose.
- In the case of nomination of candidates, the name of the candidate, the office for which he is offering, and the specific election in which he is offering.
- Statement of purpose must appear on each page.
- Contain separate columns for voters to enter the following information:
- Signature and Printed Name of voter
- Address of residence of voter
- Precinct of voter
- Contain only signatures from one county per petition page
- Have each signature numbered consecutively.
- Have each page numbered consecutively.
SAMPLE PETITION (must be printed in 8.5" x 14" format)