Petition forms are now available for Maine residents who plan to run for federal, state or county public office in 2016, including current officeholders who will seek re-election.

Per the provisions of the Maine election laws, prospective candidates can begin collecting signatures on Friday, Jan. 1. Through this petition process, candidates qualify to have their names placed on the ballot for either the primary election or general election.

Members of the Democratic, Republican or Green Independent parties seeking their party’s nomination must submit their completed petition forms to the office of the Secretary of State by March 15. The primary election takes place on June 14.

Non-party candidates must submit their completed petition forms to the appropriate municipality for certification by May 25. The forms must then be delivered to the office of the Secretary of State no later than June 1.

The general election will take place on Nov. 8. Maine voters will be electing two representatives to the U.S. House of Representatives, all state senators and representatives, and several county officers, such as judges of probate, sheriffs and district attorneys.

The Elections Division within the Maine Department of the Secretary of State provides nomination petition forms to candidates at its office in the Burton M. Cross State Office Building, 4th floor, 111 Sewall St., Augusta.

The number of signatures required varies depending on the office and whether the candidate is affiliated with a party. The Candidate’s Guide to Ballot Access, which includes complete instructions for completing and circulating nomination petitions, is now available on the Maine Department of the Secretary of State website.