Wednesday, August 12, 2009

How to Run for Office

aov for mayorPart of my decision to run for office this year was to rebuild the Democratic Party for future elections. In order to build the party, new candidates will have to be identified and they will have to make the decision to run, much as I did.

Becoming a candidate for elected office in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands is not difficult. In order to run for Mayor I simply had to collect signatures from 100 registered voters living on Saipan and pay a $250 registration fee. The signature and registration requirements for governor and US Congress are a bit higher and for every other office they are a bit lower.

The first step in registering as a candidate is going up to the Commonwealth Election Commission (CEC) and signing out a Candidates Packet. The packet has all the forms and all the information you need to run.

The next step is to collect signatures. I managed to collect about 250, well over the necessary 100. Some signatures are undoubtably duplicates or not from registered voters on Saipan, so getting more than the minimum is a good idea.

I had a lot of help collecting signatures. While I collected about 80 of them myself, mostly at family gatherings, soccer games, and walking the streets of Garapan, I had about a dozen people collecting for me. Members of the Democratic Party, family members, and friends carried my nominating petition around with them and gathered signatures. Without realizing it, the people who helped me collect signatures became the first volunteers of my campaign.

Once you get enough signatures you have to create a committee. At a minimum you need a Chairperson and a Treasurer because their names have to be reported to the CEC.

I had to fill out three forms: a candidate's committee organizational form, an affidavit swearing I am eligible to run for office, and a form signed by the Democratic Party Chairman and Secretary affirming that I am running under the party banner.

After that, all I had to do was pay my filing fee at the Treasury.

I turned all my paperwork over on Monday morning and today at 3 PM the Commonwealth Election Commission approved Resolution Number 09-004, thereby certifying Angelo O'Connor Villagomez as the Democratic Nominee for the Mayor of Saipan.

It's election time!


Saipan Writer said...

This may be all you need to do to run for Mayor, but it may help voters decide whether to elect you if you have a platform.


I noticed one commenter listed several issues of interest. For me, I think it is important to specify the role of the Mayor, and identify the issues that are pertinent to that role. And come up with suggestions of what you might do, if possible, if elected.

And it may not be easy. For example, take the minimum wage isue. This is now controlled by the U.S. Congress. Clearly this must be on Kilili's plate, but does it need to be on the Mayor of Saipan's? Does the Mayor promote the economy (other than by hiring all his family members)? Should he have a position on minimum wage? You could argue either way, and which ever way you go, you'd alienate some voters with your position on a subject over which you have little control.

Or perhaps the Mayor should be involved in collecting, tabulating, and making available information about economic indicators, since the need for on-the-ground information seems to be something that could be useful, helpful in addressing the concerns of all.

You get the idea...

Good luck.

The Saipan Blogger said...

Hi Jane,

First of all, welcome back!

I plan on running an issue based campaign, but I am still working with my team to hammer out the details. We're meeting again tonight to work on it.

I will post my platform on this blog and on my yet to be written website,

I got a late start to this campaign and just returned from a 10 day trip to the Northern Islands. There is some basic campaign organizing that I have to do before I can come out with my platform, such as buidling my committee, finding a chair, and a manager, etc.

I promise that what you ask for is in the works.

Saipan Writer said...

Just as a tactical matter, I'd also suggest canning all explanations that sound like excuses--been gone, got a late start, etc. Those just don't sound good or professional (no matter how true!). They also sound lame and backward looking.

Better to say, as you do, you're working on it. It's good if you add things like yeah, you're right, I'm right there with you, and other postives. I like the bit about telling people to stay tuned to your blog, your campaign headquarters, whatever... That keeps up involvement, as does the merchandise.

And now, you're probably tired of unsolicited advice, so my apologies. :-)

As I said before, good luck.

The Saipan Blogger said...

I appreciate the advice. Keep it coming.

I hope that people are already seeing that I am approachable and willing to answer questions.