Candidate Qualifying

I. Introduction
II. Qualifications to be a Candidate
III. Alabama Ethics Commission Requirements
IV. IRS Financial Requirements
V. Alabama Secretary of State Requirements
VI. Alabama Democratic Party Requirements
VII. Qualifying FAQs

IX. VoteBuilder

I. Introduction


To qualify for elected office in Alabama, candidates must file documents with several entities: the Alabama Democratic Party (or local County Chair), the Alabama Ethics Commission, the Alabama Secretary of State or Probate Judge, and the IRS. 

Candidates for state office cannot solicit or receive contributions any time the Alabama Legislature is in session, unless the legislature is in session within 120 days of an election. The only exception is state candidates involved in a special session called by the Governor. County and municipal candidates may continue to accept funds.


II. Qualifications to be a Candidate

Minimum Requirements for Public Office

III. Alabama Ethics Commission Requirements

WARNING: It is imperative that you immediately file the Statement of Economic Interests form with the Ethics Commission.  Failure to timely do so may result in your disqualification as a candidate.

Click here to visit the Ethics Commission's website and to file the Statement of Economic Interests form

Click here to visit the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Standards of Official Conduct website for information related to filing disclosures as a candidate for Congress.
Click here to visit the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Ethics website for information related to filings as a candidate for U.S. Senate.  You will look for the "Public Financial Disclosure Report" section.

If you choose to print the Statement of Economic Interests form, make enough copies to:

1. File a copy with the Alabama Democratic Party
2. Keep a copy for your files
3. File the original within 5 days of the date you become a candidate (you become a candidate when you file your Appointment of Principal Campaign Committee form with the Secretary of State) with the Alabama Ethics Commission, RSA Union, 100 N. Union St., Suite 104, Montgomery, AL 36104, or mail to P.O. Box 302300, Montgomery, AL 36130-2300. (Incumbents should have this form on file already.)
4. JUDICIAL CANDIDATES ONLY: FILE A COPY WITH THE CLERK OF THE SUPREME COURT WITHIN 10 DAYS OF QUALIFYING AS A CANDIDATE, 300 Dexter Avenue, Montgomery, AL 36104. The Supreme Court also requires a financial disclosure form.  Please direct all questions regarding Supreme Court filings to the Clerk of the Supreme Court.
Canons of Judicial Ethics, Canon 6, Subsection C.
A judge, at the time he or she takes the oath of office, or a candidate for judicial office, within 10 days after qualifying, shall file as a public document with the clerk of the supreme court a "statement of economic interests" on the form prepared and prescribed by the state ethics commission ....... (please click link above and carefully read entire subsection.)

IV. IRS Financial Requirements

The IRS requires that all candidate bank accounts have an Employer Identification Number (also known as a Federal Tax ID number). There are three easy ways to apply for this number below. It is recommended that you obtain professional advise concerning any additional IRS requirements.

1. The IRS encourages you to obtain your campaign's EIN by calling the Business & Specialty Tax Line at (800) 829-4933.
2. You can apply online for an EIN number here (choose Political Organization).
3. You can also fill out and print the SS-4 Application for an EIN here (pdf format).
Fax to (859) 669-5760 or Mail to Attn: EIN Operation, Philadelphia, PA 19255
Instructions for this form can be found by clicking here.

More information concerning IRS requirements can be found here and/or here.

V. Alabama Secretary of State Requirements

If you have not done so already, fill out the Appointment of Principal Campaign Committee form. This form must be filed with the State Party or County Chair simultaneously upon qualifying or must be filed within 5 calendar days of reaching the fundraising/expenditure threshold for your office, whichever occurs first. 

To file directly with the Secretary of State, send all forms to Office of the Secretary of State, State Capitol, Room E-204, Montgomery, AL 36103 or mail to them certified at P. O. Box 5616, Montgomery, AL 36103. See below for information concerning mandatory electronic filing for certain candidates.

Click here to visit the Federal Election Commission (FEC) website for financial reporting forms and procedures.

FCPA Forms and Filing Calendar

The Fair Campaign Practices Act (FCPA) requires candidates to file monthly reports following the filing of their Appointment of Principal Campaign committee form. Additional weekly and daily deadlines have also been added in lieu of the old 10 and 45 Day reports.

Use the Candidate Filing Guide linked below as a reference for filing your FCPA reports and file with the appropriate authority according to the deadlines laid out in the Filing Calendar linked below. When in doubt -- FILE, even if it is only the waiver. In addition, familiarize yourself with the Candidate Filing Guidelines, and Campaign Advertising Disclaimer Guidelines.

Certain campaigns are now required to file financial disclosure reports electronically. Per the Candidate Filing Guide:  "Effective September 1, 2015, all legislative, state school board and statewide candidates who receive $5,000 or more in contributions during an election cycle must file their APPOINTMENT OF PRINCIPAL CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE form online at For the 2016 election cycle, candidates for county office may choose to file electronically with the Secretary of State instead of filing manually with the probate judge. [§17-5-8(g)] Each county candidate who so chooses is required to file the appropriate form with the probate judge stating that all of the candidate’s required FCPA forms and reports will be filed online with the Secretary of State throughout the election cycle."

VI. Alabama Democratic Party Requirements

The state party requires candidates to file a qualifying fee and the following Declaration of Candidacy form.
WARNING: Qualifying forms and fees must be received in our office prior to the qualifying deadline regardless of postmark. We must have the forms in hand by 5:00 PM at the end of qualifying in order to certify the nominees by our deadline. 

2016 Forms

Declaration of Candidacy [PDF Document]

Delegate Qualifying Form ($50 Donation)

Presidential Qualifying Form

Presidential Candidate Petition Signature Form [PDF Document]

2016 Qualifying Fees
Qualifying fees are based on 2% of the base salary for each office. The following calculations are subject to change if found to be incorrect.

Please call 800-995-3386 for an updated list of qualifying fees.

Type Office Qualifying Fee
Federal Delegate to National Convention $50.00 (donation)
Federal President $2,500.00
Federal United States Senator $3,480.00
Federal United States Representative $3,480.00
Judicial Circuit Clerk $1,381.97
Judicial Circuit Court Judge $2,398.97
Judicial Court of Civil Appeals Judge $3,180.05
Judicial Court of Criminal Appeals Judge $3,180.05
Judicial District Attorney $2,978.71
Judicial District Court Judge $2,378.97
Judicial Supreme Court Justice $3,200.05
State President of Public Service Commission $2,069.80
State School Board (Seats 1, 3, 5,and 7) $360.00

File the following with the Alabama Democratic Party state headquarters, 501 Adams Ave., Montgomery, AL 36104, or mail certified to P.O. Box 950, Montgomery, AL 36101:

  • Statement of Economic Interests (if necessary)
  • Appointment of Principal Campaign Committee Form (if necessary)
  • Completed and notarized Declaration of Candidacy
  • Qualifying fee by check or money order
  • if check is returned for insufficient funds, closure of account, etc. your qualification for office will be null and void unless payment of fee is remedied before the close of the qualifying period.

VII. Qualifying FAQs

Q. Do I need to file a copy of my Statement of Economic Interests (Ethics) form with the ADP when qualifying?

A. If you are an incumbent elected official, state, county, or municipal employee, or other person required to file annual Statement of Economic Interests forms, and you have already filed your report prior to qualifying, you are not required to submit a second report. If you do not have a current report on file, you must file a new Statement of Economic Interests form with the ADP simultaneously with your qualifying form.

Q. Do I need to file my FCPA Pre-election report with the Party?

A. If you have not done so already, you should file the Appointment of Principal Campaign Committee, which sets up your campaign committee, when qualifying only. Additional FCPA disclosures, including the new monthly and weekly reports or annual reports, must be filed according to the FCPA calendar directly with the Secretary of State (state offices) or Probate Judge (local offices).

Q. Can I pay my qualifying fee after filing my Declaration of Candidacy (qualifying form)?

A. No, you must file your fee at the same time you file your qualifying form.

Q. Do I have to obtain a Tax ID (EIN) in order to qualify.

A. No, but it is advised, and possibly required by the bank, that you obtain an EIN for you campaign's bank account.

Q. Can you run for State Democratic Executive Committee and for public office at the same time?

A. Yes, unless you are a federal employee. State Democratic Executive Committee, County Executive Committee, and Delegate are non-paid positions.

Q. Can I run for County or State Committee, or an elective office, if I am a federal employee.

A. No, the Hatch Act forbids federal employees from running for paid elective office or for unpaid Party office, unless that employee resigns. One should research the Hatch Act for more information or for clarification.

VIII. VoteBuilder

VoteBuilder is a partnership between the Democratic National Commitee and the Alabama Democrats to build a cost-effective, state-of-the-art voter file tool for Democratic candidates to use. It is an incredible resource for candidates at any level, and can help make sure you are using your time and your resources effectively. For more information about the VoteBuilder system, please check out our VoteBuilder page or contact VoteBuilder administrator for more information.