Run for DC Office

Many teens do not know that if you are old enough to vote, you are old enough to run for local office. Running for office means that you want to be an elected official, so you put on a campaign and you try to get people to support you with donations and eventually their votes.

Your Rights

  • Voting youth have the right to run for a local political position. 
    • Some offices have other restrictions, for example, to run for Ward 1 council representative, you have to live in Ward 1 for some period of time.

Things You Should Know:

Before deciding to start a campaign, you should consider why you are running. What problem do you seen in your community that you want to fix? Are you a member of a group that is consistently ignored by the government? These are very good reasons to run for office, but you should take a look at ALL of the political offices, and see which ones would make the biggest impact. You can use this website to figure out which offices you can run for depending on where you live.

While you might want to be mayor of the city, it’s important to consider smaller offices in which young people could have a very big impact.

Below, there are two offices that YWP encourages young people to pursue:

Advisory Neighborhood Commissions: The Advisory Neighborhood Commissions consider a wide range of policies and programs affecting their neighborhoods, including traffic, parking, recreation, street improvements, liquor licenses, zoning, economic development, police protection, sanitation and trash collection, and the District's annual budget.

To run for ANC Commissioner, you have to get your name on the ballot. You do this by getting at least 25 registered voters from your Single Member District (find your SMD here) to sign your petition. Starting on Monday, July 11, 2016, the Board of Elections will give out nomination petitions for the next ANC elections. You will have to turn in your petitions by 5:00pm Wednesday, August 10th. On November 8th, Election Day, the voters will make their selection. If you win, you will take your office on January 2nd at noon after you are sworn in.

You should go to the Board personally to pick up their petitions.  In addition to the petitions, the Board will also give the candidates a list of the registered voters who live in their SMD and a map of the SMD's boundaries. Candidates will also need to file a "Declaration of Candidacy".  You can file this form when you pick up the petitions, or you can file it when you turn in your petitions, but you must file it before the August 8th deadline if you wish to have your name on the November 8th ballot.

DC State Board of Education: The State Board of Education is responsible for advising the State Superintendent of Education on educational matters, including: state standards; state policies, including those governing special, academic, vocational, charter and other schools; state objectives; and state regulations proposed by the Mayor or the State Superintendent of Education. The State Board of Education is made up of of nine elected representatives, one from each of the District of Columbia eight wards and one elected at-large.

The State Board holds regular working sessions on the first Wednesday of each month at 441 4th Street NW, on the 11th floor, from 4:30 pm-6 pm. The State Board of Education also holds a public meeting on the third Wednesday of each month at 441 4th Street NW, in the Old Council Chambers, from 5:30 pm-8:30 pm. These meetings are subject to change.

To run for a seat on the board, you should follow these three simple steps:

1) Make sure that you meet all the requirements. For the upcoming election in November, only the Ward 1 position is up for re-election, but later, all positions will eventually come for re-election. You should Contact the Board of Elections to verify that you qualify for the position. All candidate filings are handled by District of Columbia Board of Elections Office.

2) Get the right filing papers from the Board of Elections office and complete the paperwork required. If there is any difficulty in connecting with this office, contact the DC Board of Elections at (202) 727-2525 or go to this website to help obtain the correct contact information for your elections department.

3) File your papers between 120 and 90 days before the election. You must compete in the general primary to advance to the general election. Primaries are usually held in mid-June, and the general elections are held in early November.

Here are some resources that help youth get involved in the political process:

Take Action: