Getting on the ballot in New Hampshire

October 31, 2011

By Brian Snyder

When New Hampshire holds its first-in-the-nation primary, there will be over 40 candidates with their names on the ballot, from at least 26 different states in the country. And the only way to have your name be among those candidates is through New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner’s office.

Getting one’s name on the ballot is relatively simple: you must meet the eligibility requirements in the U.S. Constitution Article II, Section 1, Clause 4, and pay a $1,000 fee during the official filing period.

Any candidate who chooses to file their paperwork in person, and many do, sits down at an old desk in Secretary Gardner’s office and fills out a one-page form. When the candidate is one of the mainstream candidates, like Texas Governor Rick Perry, the small office is filled with photographers and reporters.

Republican presidential candidate and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson nearly missed the filing deadline. He told reporters that he flew a red-eye flight overnight from Phoenix to Boston in order to get his paperwork in today, the final day for filing.

When the candidate is lesser known, like Ed O’Donnell, they sit at the same desk but there is considerably more space in the office. According to O’Donnell, he has run for President of the United States six times over the past 27 years, beginning in 1984. This will be his seventh time on the ballot. In 1984, O’Donnell says he received 74 votes, and over those 27 years, he has received 246 votes in total. O’Donnell is running in the Democratic primary.

In addition to President Barack Obama, O’Donnell will be running against Vermin Supreme and at least 11 other candidates in the Democratic primary.

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