Candidate filing begins today for 2023 municipal elections

Published 11:02 am Friday, July 7, 2023

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From North Carolina State Board of Elections:

Raleigh, N.C. — Candidate filing for the 2023 municipal elections begins at noon today, Friday, July 7, and ends at noon Friday, July 21. Candidates who file will run in elections this fall that will take place in about 90 counties across North Carolina.

Contests on ballots in 2023 include city, town, and village offices, such as mayor and town or city council members (most counties), Board of Education contests (some counties), and Sanitary District Board contests (some counties).

For details on election contests and dates, including a county-by-county map, see Upcoming Election.

Updated candidate lists will be posted daily during the filing period on the State Board’s website: Candidate Lists. 

About 475 of the state’s more than 550 cities, towns, and villages – also called municipalities – have elections in 2023. Municipalities are local governments that make decisions about development, policing, water and waste services, local taxation, and other issues that affect voters’ daily lives.

“Service at the municipal level often has the most direct impact on the communities in which we live. We hope many candidates sign up to run for local office this year,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections. “We also encourage eligible individuals across the state to register and vote in their local elections.”

There are three municipal election dates, based on the type of election used by a municipality:

  • Tuesday, Sept. 12 (Charlotte and Sanford municipal primaries, if necessary)
  • Tuesday, Oct. 10 (various municipalities)
  • Tuesday, Nov. 7 (various municipalities)

For candidates:

For detailed information about candidate filing and running for election, see the 2023 Municipal Candidate Guide.

To file for municipal office, a candidate must:

  • Be 21 years old by Election Day.
  • Be a registered voter of the municipality at the time they file for office. If not already registered, they can register at the time they file their notice of candidacy.
  • Reside within the district or ward for an office that is elected by district or ward.
  • File a Municipal Notice of Candidacy (Fillable PDF) with their county board of elections and pay a filing fee set by the municipality (or submit a petition in lieu of paying the fee). See 2023-2024 Fact Sheet for Candidate Petition in Lieu of a Filing Fee.
  • File an organizational report for the candidate committee with the county board of elections within 10 days of filing a notice of candidacy or within 10 days of organizing the candidate committee, whichever occurs first, and comply with all other campaign finance requirements.
  • For partisan elections, be affiliated with the same political party in which he or she intends to file for at least 90 days prior to the filing date.
  • Disclose any felony convictions. A felony conviction does not preclude holding elective office if the candidate has completed their felony sentence.
  • A person whose name appeared on the ballot in a partisan primary election is not eligible to have their name placed on the general municipal election ballot as an unaffiliated candidate for the same office in that year.

Candidates for boards of education and sanitary district boards must be at least 21 years old by Election Day, reside within the district of the office they seek, and pay a filing fee of 1% of the annual salary for the office sought.

Prospective candidates with questions about the filing process should contact their county board of elections.