The Arkansas Secretary of State's Office handles the process for candidates seeking a political office in the state.
"Although national political campaigns began months ago, we've gotten our official start in Arkansas now," said Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin. "We started at noon today, and candidates have one week to file for office."
Martin emphasized that the filing period applies to all candidates seeking office this year, due to the passage of Act 1185 of 2011.
"In the past, independent and write-in candidates filed their paperwork in August," he said. "The General Assembly changed that law last year, though. Now, partisan, independent and write-in hopefuls must file their candidacy this week."
Martin said he expects a strong filing turnout. "The fact that we redrew all of our legislative and congressional districts means we'll have more candidates than usual," he said. "The number of candidates filing to seek office has grown each election year, and redistricting will increase that even more."
In 2010, 339 candidates sought state or district offices. In 2008, 317 candidates sought office.
"The Republican and Democrat parties of Arkansas had tables in the elevator lobby today, and they'll return on the last day of filing, for partisan candidates to pay their filing fees," Martin explained. "On the other days, candidates will have to go to their party's headquarters to pay the filing fee."
The Republican Party's headquarters is located at 1201 West Sixth Street in Little Rock; the Democrat Party headquarters is located at 1300 West Capitol. The Green and Libertarian parties will collect filing fees at or before their nominating conventions.
The filing period will close at noon on Thursday, March 1. Hours are 8AM to 5PM until the final day; hours on March 1 are 8AM to noon.
"I'm excited about this candidate filing period," Martin said. "This is an intense year in Arkansas and national politics, and I'm encouraged by Arkansans' enthusiastic involvement in the process."
Click here to see the list of all the candidates that filed on Thursday.