A candidate seeking nomination to any office who is unable to pay the filing fee may qualify through the following petition process in lieu of payment of the filing fee.
The candidate shall file an oath with the appropriate office required under section eight of this article stating that he or she is unable to pay the filing fee due to a lack of financial resources. Such oath shall be filed not earlier than the second Monday in January next preceding the primary election day.
Upon receipt of the written oath the receiving officer shall provide the candidate with in-lieu-of-filing-fee petition forms and instructions on gathering the required signatures. The number of required signatures shall be four qualified voters for each whole dollar of the filing fee: Provided, That the filing fee shall be waived, in whole and not in part. Only signatures of voters registered in the county, district or other political division represented by the office sought may be solicited. Solicitors of signatures shall also be residents of the county, district or other geographical entity represented by the office sought: Provided, however, That for offices to be filled by the voters of more than one county, separate petition forms shall be used for the signatures of qualified voters from each county.
No qualified voter forfeits his or her opportunity to vote in the primary election by signing an in-lieu-of-filing-fee petition.
The candidate may submit a greater number of signatures to allow for subsequent losses due to invalidity of some signatures. The clerk of the county commission may not be required to determine the validity of a greater number of signatures than that required by this section.
Signatures obtained on an in-lieu-of-filing-fee petition shall not be counted toward the number of voters required to sign a nomination certificate in accordance with section twenty-three of this article.
The candidate shall file all in-lieu-of-filing-fee petitions with the required number of valid signatures with the clerk of the county commission or Secretary of State, as the case may be, not later than the last date required by law for filing declarations of candidacies and payment of the filing fee.
The oath and forms required by this section shall be prescribed by the Secretary of State.