Run for Local Office – It’s Your Right!
It’s your right to run for local office, so here’s what you need to know:
File Your Intention to Run
Any Sudbury registered voter can run for local office. Visit the Town Clerk’s office, located in the Sudbury Town Hall, or, for Lincoln-Sudbury school committee candidates, the L-S District Clerk located in Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, to complete the form to file your intention to run. Once the form is filed, you will receive a candidate packet containing dates and deadlines, details regarding campaign finance rules and requirements, a “Save the Date” from the LWV Sudbury for the Candidates’ Forum recording session and the Meet the Candidates event, and a set of nomination papers. Registered voters can file their intention to run beginning Thursday, Jan. 4. You can find a list of open positions here.
Collect Signatures and Return Papers
Use your nomination papers to gather the signatures of no fewer than 50 registered voters. Then, return the papers to the Town Clerk or L-S District Clerk by Feb. 2. Once the signatures are certified by the Town Clerk’s office, your name will appear on the ballot. Gather enough signatures that if some fail to certify, you’ll still have more than 50.
Make Your Case to Voters
Set up a web page and social media site for your campaign, host coffees, shake hands at the Transfer Station, purchase push cards and yard signs, talk to voters informally, and participate in the LWV Sudbury Voters’ Guide, Candidates’ Forum, and Meet the Candidates events. Campaign finance filings of past candidates provide a wealth of information regarding campaign materials, the vendors who sell them, and the costs of acquiring them. You can find that information on the Town Clerk's website in the documents section. Check your candidate packet for information on campaign finance rules and view our 2018 "How to Run for Office presentation here. (Begin at 0:29:48.)
I have heard people say that they were “asked” to run. Do I need to be asked to run by a member of a board or committee?
Any Sudbury registered voter can run for local office. Members of boards or committees do sometimes recruit like-minded people to run, but many people run for office because they oppose the goals and ideas of the current board/committee or because they simply want to serve the community. You do not have to be asked.
What if I am new and nobody knows me? Don’t I need a large group of supporters?
All the elected officials serving today were once fresh, new faces. If you check the election archives here, you’ll see that many of them lost their first (and sometimes second) run for office, but used the skills and supporters that they gained while running to get elected in a subsequent election.
Do I need municipal experience or special credentials?
It certainly helps when you make your case to voters, but previous municipal experience or special credentials are not a pre-requisite. If you watch past Candidates’ Forums here, you will find that many of the elected officials serving today had no municipal experience or special skills when they ran for office. What they all shared was the courage to run and the desire to serve.