How to Run for City Council

Running for any elected office isn’t for the faint of heart. It is difficult, and you will be challenged every step of the way. City council members represent their constituents by proposing, passing, and ratifying laws and ordinances that benefit their community. If you truly love your community and want to be a part of bettering it, running for city council may be the path for you. Complete the below steps to get registered as a candidate running for city council!


  1. First, make sure you meet all of your city’s requirements to run for office. For example, you must registered to vote in the district you are running in. There are also other requirements that depend on the city you are running in. To ensure you meet all requirements, check your local election rules.
  2. Why are you running for office? Do some self-reflection and have a solid answer, because that question is going to be asked at every stage of your campaign. Develop a personal statement that you can easily relay and discuss with others interested in your campaign.


Not a step, but very important note: Once you’ve made the decision to run for office, ensure you have all filing deadlines in your calendar. Missing deadlines will oftentimes result in monetary penalties, or you may be excluded from running altogether.


  1. Once you’ve made your decision to run for office, you need to file the appropriate paperwork with your city or county. Go to the city clerk’s office and they will provide you with a packet full of information and forms you need to fill out. You will sign a statement, and both you and the clerk will sign an affidavit to confirm your candidacy. The packet will also contain the nomination petition.
  2. The nomination petition will have space to obtain voter signatures. You will need a certain number of signatures designated by your city to be confirmed as a candidate. It’s a good rule of thumb to obtain more signatures than you need in the event that some voters are excluded for any reason.
  3. Once your nomination petition is complete, submit them to the city clerk.
  4. When you submit your nomination petition, be prepared to pay the filing fee. It varies greatly between cities, but most are around $200.
  5. Wait for your confirmation as a candidate! The clerk will contact you once they have confirmed the validity of each voter’s signature.


Complete the above steps and you will appear on the ballot on Election Day! Read our blog post “How to Get Elected to City Council” to learn how to fundraise, organize your campaign, and connect with your constituents. There are thousands of cities and towns across the country, and each one has different requirements to run for local office. The above steps are a general guide, but check with your local laws to ensure you meet all local requirements. As always, email us if you have any questions or concerns. We wish you the best of luck in your fundraising efforts!