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Column

For individuals with aspirations, ’tis the season

Nominating petition filing season begins Nov. 27. On the county level, it’s not too late to circulate petitions and get your name on the ballot.

Autumn is certainly the season for seasons.

It starts with football season and volleyball season, then arrives the season of Halloween, followed by the season when we honor our military veterans.

Basketball season, hunting season, and the season when we give thanks for our blessings follow, as the Christmas shopping season and Advent season loom.

Every two years, two other seasons are thrown into the mix: campaign season and nominating petition filing season.

We’ve already seen candidates for governor tour the state and run TV ads. Lesser statewide posts have also gotten attention. On the local level, some candidates have emerged for countywide elected positions.

After petition filing season, which runs from Nov. 27 through Dec. 4, voters will have a clearer picture of the upcoming races.

Petition filing season comes nearly four months ahead of the Illinois primary, held the third Tuesday of March in even-numbered years. Candidates who win their parties’ nominations advance to the November election.

For civic-minded individuals who suddenly get the urge to seek an elected position, the hurdles to running for an office of regional or statewide importance, at this point, are imposing.

But on the local level, the hurdles are not as high.

Take Bureau County.

If you get the itch to run for sheriff, county clerk, or county treasurer, the minimum number of signatures needed on your nominating petitions is 69 if you’re a Republican, and 68 if you’re a Democrat, according to the Bureau County Clerk’s office.

Setting your sights a bit lower, you need a minimum of only 10 signatures from residents of your precinct if you want to run for precinct committeeman for either party in your precinct.

And for Bureau County Board, the minimum number of signatures is even less – much less.

Depending on the district (there are 13 seats up for election next year), the minimum is either two or three.

Districts 3, 6, 9, 18, and 20 require only two signatures to get your name on the ballot.

Districts 1, 4, 7, 8, 13, 17, 21 and 26 require only three signatures to get your name on the ballot.

That’s a pretty easy threshold to meet, in anyone’s book.

Interested? Here are requirements for filing.

In general, a candidate must be 18 years old and a U.S. citizen, a resident of the county for 30 days, and a registered voter of the county or county board district. Candidates for sheriff and county board must be county residents for one year.

Forms that must be filed with the county clerk are nominating petitions with the required number of signatures, a statement of candidacy, loyalty oath (optional), and a receipt for a statement of economic interest filed with the county clerk.

Blank forms, by the way, are available at the county clerk’s office.

So there you have it. If you have aspirations to serve the public or your party, the county level is a good place to start, and there’s still time to collect the required number of signatures.

After all, ’tis the season.

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