See also a State-by-State Outline of New Political Party Ballot Access.

Note that Independent 2016 Presidential candidate Evan McMullin, who did not declare his candidacy until that August, appeared on the ballot in the states of Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Mexico, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia (this list should be considered a general guideline for states with late filing deadlines and/or relatively low ballot access barriers).

Arizona

Unaffiliated or “Independent” Candidates for President of the United States must petition onto the Arizona ballot. The required number of Arizona voter petition signatures is 3% of total registered voters in the State as of the beginning of the Election Year in question (that comes out to approximately 120,000 signatures as of 2020).

The deadline to file the signatures in 2020 is the Friday before Labor Day.

Arkansas

Forming a Political Party in the State of Arkansas requires 10s of 1000s of petition signatures, but Presidential candidates of a political group which is not a recognized Political Party can qualify for the General Election ballot by filing a petition with the Secretary of State no later than the first Monday of August before the General Election. The petition shall be signed by not less than 1,000 qualified Arkansas voters.

Colorado

In Colorado, a party’s nominee just needs to file the nomination acceptance forms.

An unaffiliated candidate for President, however, needs to submit 5,000 petition signatures or pay a $1,000 filing fee to appear on the General Election ballot.

Connecticut

As of 2020, Connecticut law requires 7,500 petition signatures to place a Candidate for President on Connecticut’s statewide General Election ballot.

Delaware

In the State of Delaware, there is no filing fee to run as an Independent Candidate for President (otherwise the filing fee would be set by the size of the Candidate’s political party). You apparently just have fill out a one-page form.

For a Presidential candidate to appear on the ballot with a party line, the party has to acquire 700+ affiliated voters by early May or late August (depending on which Primary is being referred to).

Florida

A minor party that is not affiliated with a national party must petition to have its candidate for President placed on the general election ballot. This petition must contain signatures equaling 1 percent of the total registered voters in the state.

A minor political party that is affiliated with a national party does not have to petition its candidate onto the Florida ballot. Per Florida law, the term “national party” means a political party that is registered with and recognized as a qualified national committee of a political party by the Federal Election Commission.

Hawaii

A Presidential candidate not running with a Qualified Political Party in the State of Hawaii may petition onto the General Election ballot with signatures equaling 1% of the State’s vote in the last Presidential election, which equals 4,377 signatures from 437,664 votes cast.

Iowa (6 Electoral Votes)

An NPPO (Non-Party Political Organization) candidate for President running in Iowa must collect at least 1,500 signatures from voters in at least 10 counties by mid-August to appear on the 2020 General Election ballot.

Kentucky

Independent Presidential Candidates wishing to run in the General Election in Kentucky must pay a $500 filing fee and file 5,000 voter petition signatures between November and September.

Presidential Candidates may also run with “Political Organizations” (organizations which received at least 2% of the last Presidential vote) or “Political Groups” (which apparently have no requirements).

Maryland

In the State of Maryland, the signature requirement for an unaffiliated candidate seeking a statewide elective office is 10,000 signatures.

A candidate must file a Declaration of Intent with the State in early July, and file the actual petition signatures in early August.

According to the State of Maryland website, there is no filing fee for Presidential Candidates.

Massachusetts

The State of Massachusetts allows non-party candidates to run in the State’s November General Election under a political designation of up to three words or without any designation. However, non-party candidates must circulate nomination papers to appear on the ballot.

A non-party candidate seeking to have his or her name placed on the General Election ballot must obtain at least 10,000 certified signatures on nomination papers (a petition). These papers must include the names of 11 Presidential electors, who must be registered voters in Massachusetts, for each Presidential and Vice-Presidential ticket. Although only the names of the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Candidates appear on that ballot, voters cast their ballots for the 11 Electors who cast their votes in the Electoral College.

New Hampshire

For a Presidential Candidate to appear on the General Election ballot in the State of New Hampshire, they must submit 3,000 voter signatures (1,500 from each of New Hampshire’s two Congressional Districts) along with a a $250 filing fee. The Declaration of Intent and Filing Fee must be submitted in early June, and signatures in early August.

Political organizations which wish to place candidates on the New Hampshire General Election ballot must also file “Nomination Papers” (a.k.a. petition signatures), to the tune of 17,406 in 2020.

Petitions can be circulated in the Year of Election.

New Jersey (14 Electoral Votes)

In the State of New Jersey, to be officially recognized, a party’s candidates must collectively earn 10% of the total vote in a statewide election for the state legislature. Independent Candidates for President and Vice President must collect 800 petition signatures. In 2020, due to COVID-19, signatures can be gathered electronically. The deadline to turn in nominating petitions in 2020 is July 27th.

Pennsylvania

In the State of Pennsylvania, a statewide political party is any party or political body who fielded at least one candidate who polled at least 2% of the largest vote for any office in the last General Election in at least 10 counties, and polled a total statewide vote of at least 2% of the largest entire vote cast in the State for any elected candidate.

The Presidential Candidate of a Minor Political Party or Political Body in the State of Pennsylvania needs to gather 5,000 signatures statewide.

In 2020, the circulation period for “Nomination Papers” begins in February and ends in early August.

Tennessee

In the State of Tennessee, an Independent Presidential Candidate just needs to obtain the signatures and addresses of at least 275 voters registered anywhere within the State of Tennessee.

The first date to pick up a petition form from the Division of Elections is May 22, 2020. Petition forms can be picked up in person or mailed. The qualifying deadline to file the petition is 12 Noon Central Time August 20, 2020.

Texas

According to the State of Texas, only parties that have qualified to have their political party on the ballot are allowed to have their nominee for President and Vice President on the ballot. Currently, the Green Party and the Libertarian Party are the only minor parties in Texas that have ballot access. In turn, a new party in the State of Texas must receive 2% of the vote in the preceding Gubernatorial election to gain ballot access, and 1% of the Gubernatorial vote before that (in the form of petitions) is required to gain the first stage of ballot access.

Utah

In Utah, an independent candidate may submit a petition with 1,000 signatures in order to get on the General Election ballot, and must also pay a $500 filing fee.

Vermont

For the 2020 General Election, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Independent Candidates for President and Vice President of the United States DO NOT need to collect signatures to qualify for the ballot (the implication is that Presidential candidates DO need to collect signatures in normal elections).

There is no filing fee to run as an Independent Presidential Ticket in the State of Vermont. “Consent” forms for the Candidates and their three Presidential Electors just need to be filed in late July / early August.

Virginia

The only current option for running for President or Vice President in the State of Virginia (other than as a Democrat or a Republican) is as an Independent.

That said, a third party may be considered a “third party political organization” by the State of Virginia if the organization:
• Has a state central committee composed of registered voters from all 11 Congressional Districts in the State
• Has a party plan and bylaws
• Has a duly designated Chairperson and Secretary in existence and holding office for at least six months prior to filing the pages for petitions to nominate a Presidential candidate

5,000 signatures are required, and can be gathered starting on January 1st of the election year in question (at least as of 2020). At least 200 of those voters must be from each of Virginia’s 11 Congressional Districts.

The Virginia deadline for Candidates to file for the General Election is in August.

Washington State

As of 2020, the State of Washington does not collect filing fees for the offices of President and Vice President.

In Washington State, the nomination process for Minor Party Presidential candidates includes a nominating convention between May 2nd and July 25th where 1,000 petition signatures are gathered from convention attendees. At least 100 registered Washington voters must attend each meeting of the convention, which can be composed of multiple meetings.

Under an COVID-19 emergency rule issued by the Washington State Secretary of State’s Office, a virtual convention is acceptable as a safe nominating convention for the 2020 General Election, but attendees still must have a hard copy of the nominating petition, and they must provide their printed name, address, and original signature. Signatures must be submitted to the Secretary of State together with the nominating petition. Scanned, faxed, copied, or emailed signatures are not accepted on the nominating petition forms.

Notably, a declaration of a write-in candidacy can be submitted as late as 8 p.m. on Election Day in Washington State.

West Virginia

Candidates in West Virginia must file a Certificate of Announcement from January 13 through January 25th, 2020. There is a $2,500 filing fee to run for President.

West Virginia Parties can field candidates if their last Gubernatorial candidate received at least 1% of the Gubernatorial vote. Non-party candidates must petition onto the General Election ballot with at least 1% of the previous Presidential vote (6,782 votes required in 2020).

All Presidential candidacy paperwork (including petition signatures and filing fee) needs to be filed by the end of July in 2020.

Wyoming

4,025 voter petition signatures are required to form a new political party in the State of Wyoming, and 4,025 signatures are required to place an Independent Candidate for President on the Wyoming General Election Ballot.

A filing fee of $200 is also required by the August filing deadline 70 days before the General Election. A petition can only be circulated during the calendar year of the Election.

Sources:

  1. https://azsos.gov/sites/default/files/Running%20for%20President%20Handbook.pdf
  2. https://www.sos.arkansas.gov/uploads/2019_Running_for_Public_Office_FINAL.pdf
  3. https://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/Candidates/UnaffiliatedPetitionPVP.html
  4. https://portal.ct.gov/SOTS/Election-Services/Nominating-Petitions/Nominating-Petitions
  5. https://elections.delaware.gov/services/candidate/federal.shtml
  6. https://ballotpedia.org/Ballot_access_requirements_for_presidential_candidates_in_Florida
  7. https://elections.hawaii.gov/candidates/presidential/presidential-elections/
  8. https://sos.iowa.gov/elections/electioninfo/general/index.html
  9. https://elect.ky.gov/Candidates/Pages/Qualifications-and-Filing-Fees.aspx
  10. https://elections.maryland.gov/candidacy/index.html
  11. https://elections.maryland.gov/candidacy/requirements.html
  12. https://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/elepres/presidx.htm
  13. https://sos.nh.gov/Filing_For_Office.aspx
  14. https://www.state.nj.us/state/elections/candidate-information.shtml
  15. https://www.dos.pa.gov/VotingElections/CandidatesCommittees/RunningforOffice/
  16. https://sos.tn.gov/products/elections/qualifying-procedures-president-united-states
  17. https://www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/candidates/guide/2020/starting-a-party.shtml
  18. https://ballotpedia.org/Ballot_access_requirements_for_presidential_candidates_in_Utah
  19. https://sos.vermont.gov/elections/election-info-resources/candidates/presidential-candidates/
  20. https://www.elections.virginia.gov/media/formswarehouse/becomingacandidate/candidatebulletins/2020/2020-11-03_Presidential_Independent_and_Third_Party_Candidate_Bulletin.pdf
  21. https://www.sos.wa.gov/elections/candidates/
  22. https://sos.wv.gov/FormSearch/Elections/Informational/Running%20for%20Office.pdf
  23. https://sos.wyo.gov/Forms/Elections/General/2020_Indpt_Cand_Information_And_Petition.pdf

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