By | February 14, 2020

by Deborah Keller


If you want to run for office in NC you must either be a registered member of one of the five approved established parties (listed below) or obtain the required number of signatures as mandated by your local board of elections to be placed on the ballot. Some positions require that you reside in a specific district to run for office. (such as County Commissioner, School Board, etc.) Different offices will require different filing fees which is based on the salary of that office. To find that information please contact your local Board of Elections.

The five political parties that are recognized in North Carolina (listed oldest to newest) are as follows Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, Constitution, and Green. The following is a brief summary of them:

Democratic: The Democratic Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, founded in 1828 by Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren. (preceded by the Democratic-Republican Party) The platform of the Democratic Party of the United States is generally based on American liberalism and American progressivism. The party incorporates centrists, liberals, and progressives, as well as more left-wing or socialist movements. (

Republican: The Republican Party, also referred to as the GOP, is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, founded in 1854 by Zacharia T. Chandler and Salmom P. Chase. (It was preceded by the Whig Party and the Free Soil Party.) The Republican Party’s platform involves support for free market capitalism, free enterprise, business, a strong national defense, deregulation, restrictions on labor unions, social-conservative policies, and traditional values, usually with a Christian foundation. (

Libertarian: The Libertarian Party is a political party in the United States that promotes civil liberties, non-interventionism, free market capitalism, and limiting the size and scope of government, and was founded in 1971 by David Nolan. The platform emphasizes individual liberty in personal and economic affairs, avoidance of “foreign entanglements” and military and economic intervention in other nations’ affairs, and free trade and migration. The party opposes gun control. (

Constitution: The Constitution Party is a national political party in the United States that promotes the idea that the principles and intents of the U.S. Constitution remain relevant in human relations and was founded in 1991 by Darrell Castle and Howard Phillips. (previously known as the U.S. Taxpayers’ Party.) The Constitution Party is on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of hate groups. (

Green: The Green Party of the United States is a federation of Green state political parties in the United States. The party promotes green politics, specifically environmentalism; nonviolence; social justice; participatory, grassroots democracy; gender equality; LGBT rights; anti-war and anti-racism and was founded in 2001 by Howie Hawkins. (

There are many more political parties that exist in the United States but that are not necessarily recognized by balloted mandate. Examples of a few are the Communist Party USA, Labor Party, New Party, Reform Party, Republican Liberty Caucus, Democratic Socialist of America Party, Socialist Labor Party, Socialist Party USA, and Unity Party.

According to a September 2016 Gallup poll, 57 percent of Americans felt “the Democratic and Republican parties do such a poor job of representing the American people that a third major party is needed.” Voter preference for a third major party increased 17 percent between 2003 and 2016, from 40 percent in 2003 (the first year Gallup conducted this poll) to 57 percent in 2016.