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Qualifications to Run for State Representative

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Each state has different qualifications to run for state representative. Details can be found in each state's constitution under the Legislative article. Most states have some common rules, though, that apply throughout the country.


States differ on the rules for the required age of someone running for a seat as a state representative. Generally, the requirements for age range from 21 to 25 years old. Most states, including New York, Texas and Illinois, have the requirement of just 21 years old, but some states, such as Utah require the candidate to be 25.


All state require candidates for state representative to be citizens of the United States. Candidates, however, are not required to have been born in the United States. As long as a candidate acquires citizenship before they run, they are qualified.

Residence of State

In order to be qualified to run for state representative, a candidate must actually live in that state. States have different rules for the length of time that a candidate must live in the state prior to running for representative. Some states, such as New York, have a five-year residence requirement. Montana, though, has just a one-year residence requirement. Candidates are not required to be born in the state, they just must live there before running.

Residence in District

All candidates for state representative, across the country, must live in the district in which they have declared their candidacy. The length of time to live in the district depends on the state constitution. Montana requires just six months living in the district, while Texas requires at least one-year of residency in the district before running for office. There is no requirement to be born in the district.

Readjustment of Realignment

Each state has different procedures for realigning the districts based on population. Once the realignment occurs, the qualifications for running for representative also change. In Illinois, according to its Constitution: "A candidate for the General Assembly may be elected from any district which contains a part of the district in which he resided at the time of the redistricting and reelected if a resident of the new district he represents for 18 months prior to reelection." In New York, once realignment occurs, a candidate must have lived in the district for one year before the election.

Ineligibility for Other Offices

All states restrict candidates for state representative from continuing work in any other public office. This includes federal level offices as well. Some states allow for members of the state legislature to continue their enlistment in the military.