Candidates & Campaigns

FAQs for Primary & General Election Candidacy

Are you thinking of running for office?

The 2020 Primary Election Candidate Guide – along with the required forms that must be completed and filed – will be published and available on our website on October 1, 2019.

Specific candidate guidance for minor party and independent candidates will be published and available on our website in March 2, 2020.

In the meantime, please review the FAQs below for answers to frequently asked questions.


What are the general eligibility requirements to run for office?

New Mexico law outlines certain requirements for candidates to have their name printed on a ballot based upon the candidate’s voter registration information. Specifically, the candidate’s voter registration record, as of the date of the Secretary of State’s General Election Proclamation, must match the candidacy filing documents including:

• Political party;
• Residence in the district or county of the office for which the candidate is running. Residence is determined by the place shown on the certificate of voter registration as the candidate’s permanent address, provided that the candidate resides on the premises; and,
• The candidate’s name will appear on the ballot to match the voter registration record on file.

By law, the Secretary of State General Election Proclamation is issued on the last Monday in January of the even-numbered year. In 2020 this will occur on January 27. Any changes to voter registration must be effective on the date of the General Election Proclamation. Attempted changes to ballot name appearance at the time of candidate filing is NOT allowed.

Additionally, in order to appear on the ballot, the candidate must not have any outstanding campaign finance compliance issues or fines with our office.

Finally, a person who has been convicted of a felony shall not be permitted to hold an office of public trust for the state, a county, a municipality or a district, unless the person has presented the governor with a certificate verifying the completion of the sentence and was granted a pardon or a certificate by the governor restoring the person’s full rights of citizenship. See NMSA 1978, § 31-13-1(E)

There may be additional eligibility requirements depending upon the office being sought. More information on these office-specific requirements will be provided in the candidate guide that is published in October.


What are the required forms in order to file for office?

Each candidate must file the following forms:

• Declaration of Candidacy (all candidates);
• Candidate Information for Campaign Reporting Form (non-federal candidates);
• Nominating Petitions (if required, see below);
• Filing fee or pauper’s statement (for county offices only);
• Financial Disclosure Statement (legislative and statewide candidates only);
• Affidavit of PRC Qualification (for PRC candidates only);
• Affidavit of Designee for Filing (if someone is filing on behalf of candidate).

Only forms prescribed by the Office of the New Mexico Secretary of State will be accepted on filing day. Forms from previous election years may not be used and will not be accepted. All candidacy forms provided by the Office of the New Mexico Secretary of State will be labeled with the current election year information.


How many nominating petition signatures do I need in order to qualify for office?

Candidates for US representative, US senator, any statewide office (including Supreme Court Justice and Court of Appeals Judge), all state legislative offices, district court judge, metropolitan court judge, district attorney, magistrate court judge, public regulation commission, and public education commission are required to file nominating petitions upon filing for office with the appropriate filing officer. Candidates who are required to file nominating petitions do not pay a filing fee.

Candidates required to collect petition signatures have a minimum number of valid signatures they must collect in order to qualify for the ballot and the number is different depending on whether the candidate is affiliated with a Major Party, Minor Party, or as an Independent.
The number is different for candidates filing for US representative and statewide office, depending upon whether the candidate is nominated at a state pre-primary convention held by the major political parties.

The required number of signatures will be published with the candidate guide in October for major party candidates and March of 2020 for independent and minor party candidates.

Nominating petition signature requirements are set by law and a summary is outlined below:

Major Party Candidates: Nominating petitions for those candidates shall be signed by a number of voters equal to at least two percent of the total vote of the candidate’s party in the state or congressional district, or the following number of voters, whichever is greater: for statewide offices, two hundred thirty voters; and for congressional candidates, seventy-seven voters. SeeNMSA 1978,§ 1-8-33.
Minor Party Candidates: the minimum required number of signatures is 1% of the total number of votes cast for governor at the last preceding general election at which a governor was elected. SeeNMSA 1978, § 1-8-2.
Independent Candidates: Nominating petitions for an independent candidate for United States senator or any other statewide elective office shall be signed by a number of voters equal to at least two percent of the total number of votes cast in the state. See NMSA 1978, § 1-8-51.
*The number of specific petition requirements for a specific candidate contest should be confirmed by checking the statutory sections above.


Is there a filing fee?

Candidates who are not required to file nominating petitions, i.e. county office candidates, pay a $50.00 filing fee to the County Clerk upon filing for office. In cases of financial hardship, the County Clerk may waive the fee if the candidate submits a Pauper’s Statement, which is available on the New Mexico Secretary of State’s website beginning in October 1, 2020. Candidates who are required to file nominating petitions do not pay a filing fee.


When and where do I file for office?

Pre-Primary Convention Designation Filing Day for the Primary Election is February 4, 2020, between 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Filing day for all other offices & candidates that failed to receive party designation for the Primary Election is March 10, 2020, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Filing day for write-in candidates for the Primary Election is March 17, 2020, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Filing day for retention judges, minor party candidates, and independent candidates for the General Election is June 25, 2020, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Candidates for the following offices shall file, in-person, with the Secretary of State:
• President of the United States
• United States Representative and Senator
• All Statewide Offices

Candidates for the following offices shall file, in-person, with the appropriate County Clerk:
• Public Regulation Commission
• Public Education Commission
• State Legislators
• County Commissioner
• County Councilor
• County Clerk
• County Assessor
• County Treasurer
• County Sheriff
• Probate Judge
• Metropolitan Court Judge
• Magistrate Court Judge
• District Court Judges
• District Attorneys


Is there anything I need to do before filing day?

If the candidate themselves cannot be present to file their campaign documents on the appointed filing day, they may designate a representative to do so in advance by filling out an affidavit Rev. 2019 designating the representative and having it notarized. This form is made available on the website of the Office of the New Mexico Secretary of State October 1, 2019.

Candidates must register and begin filing campaign finance disclosure reports with the Office of the New Mexico Secretary of State upon raising or spending more than $1,000 for a non-statewide race or more than $3,000 for a statewide race, or at the time they file a Declaration of Candidacy, whichever occurs earlier.

The registration form and more information including reporting deadlines is available on our Campaign Finance Reporting Information page. Fines are stiff for candidates who do not comply with the campaign reporting regulations so, it is important to read the Campaign Reporting Act and become familiar with all reporting requirements and deadlines. The Office of the New Mexico Secretary of State provides online webinar training sessions prior to each report deadline. Check our website or call our office for more details.

Once we receive the registration form, we will create an account for the candidate in the Campaign Finance Information System (“CFIS”). CFIS is the online computer program where candidates must report their campaign finances for public review and transparency. A valid email address is required for use of CFIS. Once a CFIS account has been created, the candidate will be emailed a username and password to gain access to the system.


When can I start posting my campaign signs?

The Office of the New Mexico Secretary of State does not maintain information regarding when a county or local municipality allows campaign signs to be posted. Please inquire with the local governments in each jurisdiction in which you want to place signs for specific county and city zoning ordinances and restrictions.


Are there any opportunities for public financing of my campaign?

New Mexico law currently provides for public financing for candidates running for Public Regulation Commissioner, Justice of the Supreme Court, and Judge of the Court of Appeals.

The “Voter Action Act” Guide is published and available on our website. This guide will provides comprehensive information regarding all of the additional forms and requirements for candidates who wish to pursue public financing.

Upcoming Elections

  • 2019 Regular Local Elections - November 5, 2019
  • 2020 Municipal Officer Elections - March 3, 2020
  • 2020 Primary Election - June 2, 2020
  • 2020 General Election - November 3, 2020

View All Elections

Quick Contact Information


Mailing & Physical Address
New Mexico Capitol Annex North
325 Don Gaspar, Suite 300
Santa Fe, NM 87501

Hours of Operation
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM Monday through Friday

Toll Free : 1-800-477-3632

Business Services Division
Phone 505-827-3600 (Option 1)
Fax 505-827-4387
Email Business.Services@state.nm.us

Bureau of Elections
Phone: 505-827-3600 (Option 2)
Email: Sos.elections@state.nm.us

Ethics Division
Phone: 505-827-3600 (Option 2)
Email: Sos.ethics@state.nm.us

Receptionist
Phone 505-827-3600 (Option 3)

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