The Constitution lists three qualifications for the Presidency:

• The President must be at least 35 years of age

• Be a natural born citizen

• Must have lived in the United States for at least 14 years.

In order to get on the ballot, a candidate for president of the United States must meet a variety of complex, state-specific filing requirements and deadlines. These regulations, known as ballot access laws, determine whether a candidate or party will appear on an election ballot. These laws are set at the state level. A presidential candidate must prepare to meet ballot access requirements well in advance of primaries, caucuses, and the general election.

There are three basic methods by which an individual may become a candidate for president of the United States:

1 - An individual can seek the nomination of a political party. Presidential nominees are selected by delegates at national nominating conventions. Individual states conduct caucuses or primary elections to determine which delegates will be sent to the national convention.

2 - An individual can run as an independent. Independent presidential candidates typically must petition each state to have their names printed on the general election ballot.

3 - An individual can run as a write-in candidate.

Requirements for Independents
Generally speaking, an independent presidential candidate must petition for placement on the general election ballot in all 50 states as well as Washington, D.C. A handful of states may allow an independent candidate to pay a filing fee in lieu of submitting a petition. The methods for calculating how many signatures are required vary from state to state, as do the actual signature requirements. For instance, some states establish a flat signature requirement. Other states calculate signature requirements as percentages of voter registration or votes cast for a given office.

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“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is ACTUALLY IN THE ARENA.”  
- Theodore Roosevelt