Elections are Coming
Elections are next November.
If you want good candidates, recruit them now.
Remember, in 2016 some Republican legislators had no opponent.
That sends a real message...parts of Massachusetts like Trump.
In 2018, every Republican should have an opponent.
And some other legislators are certainly not progressive. They should have opponents, too.
The time to get going on a campaign is now.
To put someone on the ballot, you have part of February, March, and much April to collect signatures. Those signatures must be certified by your town clerk or city board of elections, and delivered to the Secretary of the Commonwealth, before the deadline.
How many signatures do you need?
State Representative - 150 VALID signatures
State Senator - 300 VALID signatures
Governor's Council - 1000 VALID signatures
You should have a safety margin, at least 20% extra VALID signatures. Some signatures will not be valid.
Who may sign nominating papers? The signer must be a Registered Voter who lives in your District.
Also, the signer may be from the wrong party. Wrong Party?
Now it gets a bit complicated. Massachusetts has Political Parties (major parties), Political Designations (minor parties), and Unenrolled voters (independent voters; belong to no party).
For 2018, the Political Parties are Democratic, Republican, and Libertarian. Political Designations include Green-Rainbow, Constitution, Pirate, and many more.
If you are a candidate of a Political Designation, or are running as an independent, any registered voter in your district may sign your nominating papers. If you are a candidate of a Political Party, signatures of members of other parties do not count. So, if you are a Democratic candidate, Republican and Libertarian signatures do not count. All other registered voters from your district may sign.
Do not worry much whether voters signing your papers are actually a member of the right party. It's remarkable how many people don't know or are wrong about their party registration. After you collect signatures, you give the papers to your Town Clerk/Board of Elections. They check that each voter is registered the right way, count the valid signatures, and return the papers to you. You must get the papers to the Secretary of the Commonwealth. Delivery by hand to one of his offices (Boston, Springfield) is best.
If you do this as a Democrat, your name goes on the September primary ballot. If you do this with a political designation, your name goes straight onto the November election ballot.
Your party registration must agree with the party or designation with which you are running. If you are currently registered as a Democrat, Libertarian, or Republican, DO NOT change to another party or you are ineligible to run in 2018. You can change to UNENROLLED, and run as Green-Rainbow, Progressive, or another political designation, so long as you do it NOW.
All told, how many signatures should you and your friends collect? If you are running as a Democrat, you want at least twice as many signatures as you are required to have. If you are running as Green-Rainbow or with another designation, you can get by with 50% more signatures than the legal minimums. (You can beat this by going door to door with a list of registered voters, and only asking eligible voters to sign your papers, but this approach is slow.)
If you think this is too complicated, or too many signatures are needed, complain to your state legislator.
The Secretary of the Comonwealth has published a guide