There are two primary ways to become a candidate in Delaware's November general elections. The best known of these is to file in a major party's primary and win it. Slightly lesser known is to be nominated by a minor party at their convention. The state and county committees of major parties can also nominate candidates directly if no one files for the primary election prior to the filing deadline in July.
Minor Parties are defined in the Delaware Code as any political party with fewer than 5% of the total registered voters in the State registered as members of that party. The Libertarian Party of Delaware is a minor party, as are the Independent and Green parties. There are a number of other minor parties, but these three parties are the only ones in the state qualified for ballot access by virtue of having at least 0.1% of the total registered voters in the State, as of the end of the immediately preceding year, registered as members of that party. As of January 2020 as this post is being written, that is 714 registered members.
The nomination procedures for each party vary, but candidates for the Libertarian Party of Delaware are nominated at the State Convention immediately prior to the election. The 2020 Libertarian Party of Delaware State Convention is scheduled for March 14th, 2020. All are welcome to attend, but only those meeting the membership requirements under the Articles of Association are eligible to be nominated as candidates, and they must also meet the statutory requirements under the Delaware Code. These requirement obligate any candidate to be a member of the political party nominating them at the time the certificate is filed, and in the absence of more specific residency requirements have resided within the district for which they are seeking to be nominated for at least one year.
The Libertarian Party of Delaware typically has more nominations available for the various offices than we do candidates willing to contest those elections, so the process at the convention relies on willing candidates making themselves known at the appropriate time. A candidate can then nominate themselves or have another delegate enter a nomination for them. All candidates for any nomination must defeat "NOTA" or "None of the Above" to be nominated as a safeguard integral to the philosophy of the Libertarian Party that sometimes No One is better than the wrong candidate.
Once a candidate has been nominated by the convention, the appropriate officers will sign off on a Certificate of Nomination. The State Chair and State Secretary must sign off on certificates for candidates running statewide or in any district which crosses county lines, while the County Chair and County Secretary must sign off on any candidate running for a local office fully contained within a single county. These nominations must be completed by August 1st and the nomination certificates submitted to the Commissioner or local county Department of Elections within 10 business days.
Once a candidate has submitted their certificate of nomination, they are required to file a Statement of Organization with the State Commissioner of Elections to register their campaign finance committee. As a candidate of a minor party, we do not have primaries and therefore the filing deadlines for primary reports do not apply, but all candidates are required to submit reports through the CFRS system annually, as well as 8 and 30 days prior to the general election. A guide to navigating the CFRS system has been prepared and posted to YouTube.
The Libertarian Party of Delaware prides itself on its comparatively low barriers to entry for first time candidates to get involved in the electoral process. If you have any additional questions not covered by this guide, please attend your next county meeting and ask. This will also be a good opportunity to get to know the other delegates who will need to support your nomination to make sure you aren't defeated by NOTA!
Becoming a candidate is the easy part. The next step is to win your election! We haven't figured out how to do that yet, but if you do, let us know!