Candidate Types

Candidate Types



An incumbent is a person who currently holds any elective office, whether by appointment or election. A candidate is considered an incumbent even if he or she is filing for a different elective office than the one he or she currently hold.


A non-incumbent is a person who currently holds no elective office.


A partisan candidate is a candidate running for a partisan office. A partisan office is a political office where candidates are listed by party affiliation, and voters may only vote for candidates of their same political party during a partisan primary.


A nonpartisan candidate is a candidate running for a nonpartisan office. A nonpartisan office is a political office where candidates are not listed by party affiliation, and all voters, regardless of political affiliation, may vote for any candidate for that office.


  • A write-in candidate must file a notarized affidavit and pay a filing fee (if required) with the Election Commissioner or Secretary of State no later than 10 days prior to the election.
  • A candidate who was defeated in the primary election as a regular candidate or as a write-in candidate may not file as a write-in candidate for the general election for that same office unless a vacancy exists.
  • A write-in candidate’s name is not printed on the ballot. Voters may vote for an official write-in candidate by writing the candidate’s name on a write-in line and filling in the oval that corresponds with the political office that the candidate is seeking.

By Petition

A candidate may petition onto the ballot under certain circumstances. For more information on nomination by petition, please visit our Nomination by Petition page.

Nominated by Political Party Convention or Committee

A registered voter who was not a candidate in the primary election may have his or her name placed on the general election ballot for a partisan office if he or she is nominated by a political party convention or committee.


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