Home > About Townships > Get Involved > Running for office

ElectionsWhat are the qualifications to run for township office?
To qualify for either township supervisor, treasurer, clerk or trustee, a person must be a township elector, but property ownership is not required. An elector is defined as someone 18 years of age, who is a U.S. citizen and has lived at least 30 days in the township for which they will serve.

How does a citizen qualify for office?
Visit the Michigan Department of State Elections website for the required  information on running as a candidate for township supervisor, clerk, treasurer and trustee.

For candidate filing deadlines, see the state Bureau of Elections calendar here.

What are the filing deadlines?
A person must be a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years of age, and registered to vote and a resident of the township for at least 30 days before the date they file to run for township office.

There are several deadlines for candidates for township office to file the applicable petitions, so it is still possible for a person to establish residency and become a qualified and registered voter for election to township board office by different dates.

How long is the term of office for elected township officials?
The term of office for all elected officials is four years. The terms commence at 12 p.m. on November 20 following the November general election, provided the newly elected officials have qualified for office by that time. 

How does an elected official qualify for office?
To qualify, a successful candidate must file any necessary bond and take an oath of office before the township clerk, deputy clerk or other officer qualified to administer the oath, such as the county clerk or deputy county clerk, notary public, judge or justice with jurisdiction, or the state representative or senator. Elected officials must qualify for office before January 1 or lose the elected position.


In addition to the statutory duties for each office listed at right, each local official should be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge about township law (general law or charter) government responsibilities, functions and powers
  • Identify the major functions of each branch of government—local, state and federal—along with their relationship to one another
  • Communicate and listen effectively
  • Utilize consensus-building techniques and motivate others to achieve desired outcomes
  • Manage adversity and hostility
  • Demonstrate ethical behavior
  • Possess vision, especially relative to the township’s needs or potential, and utilize public relations skills to positively represent the township
  • Understand the roles and responsibilities of other elected and appointed offices
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the various committees, boards and commissions serving the township, including their roles and responsibilities
  • Understand how township policies and procedures are set
  • Be aware of what constitutes lawful township expenditures
  • Utilize strategic planning to attain objectives
  • Demonstrate knowledge of how ordinances are lawfully adopted and legally enforced

For a full list of core competencies for elected township officials, click here.