Vermont Votes for Kids: A project of the Vermont Secretary of State

Curriculum for Grades 9-12, Teacher Materials for Lesson 8:
Who? Me? Run for Office?


"Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right."
(Henry Ford)

"Leadership, like swimming, cannot be learned by reading about it."
(Henry Mintzberg)

There is consensus across the generations that for democracy to renew itself there must be a commitment on the part of each new generation. New leaders must arise to become "change agents" who will "walk the talk" of the American dream. Young people have stepped forward in the past and they must continue to do so for the reasons voiced above.


This lesson will introduce students to information about what offices are available for their future candidacy and what procedures are involved for filing for public office. The answers to the questions may be found in the Vermont Constitution at or at the Secretary of State's Elections website at This activity will also acquaint students with the opportunities, requirements and timelines of seeking elected office so they might not only consider it but also plan for the possibility of becoming an elected official.

This exercise will help them realize that they have a whole range of elected positions from which to choose. They will find that all offices require U.S. citizenship and they must be at least 18 years old. They will discover that some offices have unique requirements.

Students will need access to the Internet. You will need to reproduce enough copies of the lesson for each student and decide if they are to do this as an individual assignment or a collaborative one. Given the exploratory nature of these activities, it is suggested that this lesson be done in teams of two.

Questions and answers from their lesson are provided for you below.


     1. Name at least three statewide offices that you coud run for upon turning 18 years of age.

2. How often do State Representatives stand for election? State Senators?

3. Can you run for two offices at once?

4. What are the two common requirements to seek the office of State Representative or State Senator?

5. Can you run for office to be elected as a Justice of the Supreme Court ?

6. Besides state offices, what other categories of elected office at a more local level would be an option for you when you decide to seek public office?

7. If you want to run for State Reprtesentative, where may you obtain the necessary petition form?

8. If you want to be nominated by a major party, what must you do?

9. What is the beginning date for filing your petition for office?

10. Where do you file your petition to run for state offices?

11. Must you pay money to file a peition to run for office?

12. To run for State Representative, how many signatures must you get on your petition?


     1. Governor, Treasurer, Lieutenant Governor, Auditor of Accounts, Secretary of State

2. Every two years

3. Most statewide offices are incompatible; see the Vermont Constitution

4. Age 18, residence in Vermont and in the district.

5. No, Justices are nominated by the Governor and approved by the General Assembly.

6. A wide variety of Town and School District offices are elected each year

7. Petition forms may be downloaded from the Secretary of State's web site, or obtained in person in many locations.

8. File a Petition and run in the Primary.

9. For Major Party candidates, July 19, 2004. For Minor Party and Independent candidates, September 14.

10. With the Secretary of State.

11. No.

12. 50.

Vermont Secretary of State