Filing deadlines for elected offices are rapidly approaching

Filing deadlines for 2012 elections range from May 15 through July 27. Check the Secretary of State website for details and file on-time.

There are many decisions to be made, facts to learn, and plans to form when considering a run for elected public office. Much of the preparation takes place over a period of time, sometimes many months or years. One detail is particularly time sensitive: the deadline to file nominating petitions to get on the ballot. Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson has information on filing, campaign finance and other topics for candidates online.

For the 2012 elections in Michigan, there are three dates, or groups of dates, that cover most local offices. The first of these is 4 p.m. on May 15, 2012. This is the filing deadline for county convention delegate and all partisan and non-partisan offices, except judicial. Judicial dates are detailed in the Secretary Of State publication. Candidates who meet the May 15 deadline then change their minds about running have until 4 p.m. on May 18 to withdraw.

Local school board members, community college trustees, district library board members, and village positions have a filing deadline of 4 p.m. on August 14, unless the district library includes a school district, then that deadline is 4 p.m. on July 19.

Write-ins are due by 4 p.m. on July 27 at for the primary vote in August, except for precinct delegates. Precinct delegate write-ins need to file by 4 p.m. on August 3.

Petition drives to put initiatives on the ballot also have due dates for the November election. If the petition is for a legislative initiative, the deadline is 5 p.m. on May 30. For constitutional amendments, petition signatures must be filed by 5 p.m. on July 9.

For most of us who have no plans to run for office in 2012, there are two very important dates. The primary election will be held on Tuesday, August 7, 2012, and the general election is Tuesday, November 6, 2012.

Even if you think it unlikely that you will ever run for public office, being an informed voter is critically important. Follow local news outlets and web sites to learn more about the issues affecting your state and local units of government. Take time to attend a few meetings. Meeting locations and times must be posted at the local government offices, and most are on the web. You may be one of only a few people in attendance at a given meeting, but it will be a great opportunity to learn about the kinds of issues your elected government leaders are addressing.

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