Candidate Qualifications



No person may be popularly elected to and serve in any office in the State unless he is registered to vote in the geographical area represented by the office (S.C. Constitution, Article VI, Section 1).

A person convicted of a felony or an offense against the election laws is not qualified to file for or hold office, unless it has been fifteen years since the completion of the sentence for the crime or unless the person has been pardoned (S.C. Constitution, Article VI, Section 1).

Candidate's qualifications for all offices, are determined at the time of the election and not at the time of filing or nomination. However, candidates for Senate and House are must be a resident of the district at the time of filing.

Qualifications for municipal offices may vary by ordinance.  Check with your municipal or county election commission for specific qualifications.

Some individuals may be restricted from running for public office by the federal Hatch Act.  The Act applies to federal employees and others receiving federal funds and restricts their participation in campaigns for partisan offices.  For detailed information regarding the Hatch Act, visit the website of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel. 

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS FOR COUNTY OFFICES:

Office

Minimum Age

Residency Requirement

Registered Voter

Term of Office

Consecutive Terms

Special Qualifications/Notes

Council

18

Must be a resident of the county and/or district at the time of the election

Yes

4 or 2 years

Indefinite

Term is 2 years in Anderson, Edgefield, Orangeburg, & York Counties.

Treasurer

18

Must be a resident of the county at the time of the election

Yes

4 years

Indefinite

Treasurer is appointed in Greenwood & York Counties.

Auditor

18

Must be a resident of the county at the time of the election

Yes

4 years

Indefinite

Auditor is appointed in Greenwood & York Counties.

Clerk of Court

18

Must be a resident of the county at the time of the election

Yes

4 years

Indefinite

 

Coroner

21

Must be a resident of the county for at least 1 year immediately preceding the date of the election. Must be a U.S. citizen

Yes

4 years

Indefinite

 *See below for complete qualifications

Probate Judge

21

Must be a resident of the county at the time of the election

Yes

4 years

Indefinite

S.C. Code of Laws Section 14-23-1040 includes an education/experience requirement for Probate Judge. (Act 678 of 1990) However, the U.S. Department of Justice objected to the requirement, and the act was never precleared and is therefore unenforceable.

Sheriff

21

Must be a resident of the county for at least 1 year immediately preceding the date of the election. Must be a U.S. citizen.

Yes

4 years

Indefinite

**See below for complete qualifications

Register of Deeds

18

Must be a resident of the county at the time of the election

Yes

4 years

Indefinite

School Board

18

Must be a resident of the county and/or district at the time of the election

Yes

4, 3 or 2 years

Indefinite

Additional qualifications may exist for any particular school board or district.  For specific lengths of terms and qualifications, contact the local school district or the S.C. School Board Association.

Soil & Water Conservation District Commissioner

18

Must be a resident of the county and/or district at the time of the election

Yes

4 years

Indefinite


*Candidates for Coroner must meet the following qualifications (S.C. Code of Laws 17-5-130): 

  • Must have a high school diploma or equivalent recognized by the State Department of Education.
  • Must not have been convicted of a felony offense or an offense involving moral turpitude contrary to the laws of this State, another state, or the United States.
  • Must have one of the following combinations of education and experience:
    • 3 years experience in death investigation with a law enforcement agency, coroner, or medical examiner agency; or
    • 2 year associate degree and 2 years experience in death investigation with a law enforcement agency, coroner, or medical examiner agency; or
    • 4 year baccalaureate degree and 1 year experience in death investigation with a law enforcement agency, coroner, or medical examiner agency; or
    • be a law enforcement officer, as defined by S.C. Code of Laws 23-23-10(E)(1), certified by the S.C. Law Enforcement Training Council with a minimum of 2 years of experience; or
    • be a licensed private investigator with a minimum of 2 years of experience; or
    • have completed a recognized forensic science degree or certification program or be enrolled in a recognized forensic science degree or certification program to be completed within 1 year of being elected to the office of coroner.
  • Candidates must file a sworn affidavit with the county party chairman no later than the close of the filing period (petition candidates file the affidavit with the county election commission).  A Coroner's Filing Affidavit is available for download from the Filing Forms page. Affidavits must contain the following information:
    • date and place of person's birth
    • person's citizenship
    • county of residence and how long the person has been a resident of that county
    • whether the person is a registered voter
    • date person obtained high school diploma or its recognized equivalent
    • whether the person has been convicted of a felony offense or an offense involving moral turpitude contrary to the laws of this State, another state, or the United States.
    • date person obtained an associate degree or baccalaureate degree, if applicable
    • date person completed a recognized forensic science degree or certification program, or information regarding the person's enrollment in a recognized forensic science degree or certification program, if applicable

**Candidates for Sheriff must meet the following qualifications (S.C. Code of Laws 23-11-110):

  • Must have one of the following combinations of education and experience:
    • High school diploma & 5 years experience as a certified law enforcement officer; or
    • 2 year associate degree & 3 years experience as a certified law enforcement officer; or
    • 4 year bachelors degree & 1 year experience as a certified law enforcement officer; or
    • Served as a summary court judge for at least 10 years.
  • Must not have pled guilty or been convicted of a felony in this state or in any other state or pled guilty or been convicted of driving under suspension of a license or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol within the past 10 years.
  • Candidates must be fingerprinted and have SLED make a search of local, state and federal fingerprint files for any criminal record. Fingerprints are to be taken under the direction of any law enforcement agency and must be made available to SLED no later than 130 days prior to the General Election. The results of the records search are to be filed with the county executive committee of the person's political party. A person seeking nomination by petition must file the results with the county election commission in the county of his residence.
  • Candidates must file a sworn affidavit with the county party chairman no later than the close of the filing period (petition candidates file the affidavit with the county election commission). A Sheriff's Filing Affidavit is available for download from the Filing Forms page. Affidavits must contain the following information:
    • date and place of person's birth
    • date person graduated from high school or received equivalent of high school diploma
    • number of years experience person has as a certified law enforcement officer, when applicable
    • number of years experience person has as a summary court judge, when applicable
    • an affirmation the the person meets all of the qualification requirements of 23-11-110(A)

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS FOR STATE/FEDERAL OFFICES:

Office

Minimum Age

State Resident

US Citizen

Registered Voter

Term of Office

Consecutive Terms

Special Qualifications/Notes

US Senate

30

No time limit

9 years

Yes

6 years

Indefinite

US House of Representatives

25

No time limit

7 years

Yes

2 years

Indefinite

Governor

30

5 years

5 years

Yes

4 years

2

Lieutenant Governor

30

5 years

5 years

Yes

4 years

2

Secretary of State

18

No time limit

No time limit

Yes

4 years

Indefinite

State Treasurer

18

No time limit

No time limit

Yes

4 years

Indefinite

Attorney General

18

No time limit

No time limit

Yes

4 years

Indefinite

Comptroller General

18

No time limit

No time limit

Yes

4 years

Indefinite

State Superintendent of Education

18

No time limit

No time limit

Yes

4 years

Indefinite

Adjutant General

18

No time limit

No time limit

Yes

4 years

Indefinite

Agriculture Commissioner

18

No time limit

No time limit

Yes

4 years

Indefinite

SC Senate

25

No time limit

No time limit

Yes

4 years

Indefinite

Must be a legal resident of the district at the time of filing

SC House of Representatives

21

No time limit

No time limit

Yes

2 years

Indefinite

Must be a legal resident of the district at the time of filing

Solicitors

18

No time limit

No time limit

Yes

4 years

Indefinite

Must be legal resident of circuit 30 days prior to the election