Join our Discord!


Police Tape
For Candidates

How to Run for Coroner

2 min read
Police Tape
Good Party Politics Team · Mar 1, 2024

A coroner is a public health official who looks into deaths that are unexpected, violent, inexplicable, or suspicious. In addition to determining the reason and manner of death, determining the next of kin, and issuing a death certificate, coroners may perform or order an autopsy. They might also manage unclaimed bodies, provide testimony in court, and support law enforcement with investigations of deaths.

This guide will walk through the basic steps of running for coroner, plus offer tips for launching an effective campaign.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Running for Coroner

#1: Understanding the Role of Coroner

Before getting started with your campaign for coroner or medical examiner, it is essential to understand the role that coroners play in local government, as well as the ins and outs of the election process.

Different counties and states have different systems for electing coroners. In jurisdictions with centralized elected medical examiner systems, examinations into deaths are carried out by designated physicians. In some states, coroners are elected by their fellow citizens in a county-based system. In some places, coroners and medical examiners work together in a hybrid system.

Depending on the jurisdiction, a coroner's responsibilities and requirements may be different. While in some jurisdictions, coroners need no formal educational or professional prerequisites, in others, they must possess a medical or legal background.

In the majority of states, those who want to run for coroner do so on partisan ballots, having to indicate their political affiliation. This could have an impact on the coroner nomination process, as well as on their choices and behaviors down the road, particularly in situations involving drug overdoses, suicides, and police shootings.

In a few states, those who run for coroner are not affiliated with any party and run on a nonpartisan ballot. This can lessen the probability of bias and favoritism, but it can also make it more difficult for voters to assess the candidates' backgrounds.


Free tools to power your campaign

Get a demo of our free campaign tools for independent candidates
Frame 13

#2: Meeting Qualifications and Eligibility Requirements

In order to become a coroner, an individual must fulfill the following qualifications and eligibility requirements for election:

  • Educational Requirements: A bachelor's degree or above in a relevant discipline, such as forensic science, medicine, or law, may be required in some jurisdictions in addition to the minimum requirement of a high school diploma or its equivalent. In addition, training in anatomy, pathology, toxicology, and investigative capabilities may be required.

  • Training and Certification: To become a coroner, one must complete a rigorous training program that covers autopsies, crisis response, death investigations, and evidence gathering and be certified by a professional association.

  • Investigative and Legal Procedures: Coroners need to be knowledgeable about the ethical and legal ramifications of conducting a death inquiry, including notifying the next of kin, protecting privacy, and preserving evidence. They must also be able to collaborate with medical professionals, law enforcement, and other organizations engaged in the death investigation process.

  • Empathy and Compassion: Coroner responsibilities include being able to handle emotionally taxing circumstances, like speaking with bereaved families and giving testimony in court. Coroners must also be able to interact with people from different cultures and backgrounds in an appropriate and respectful manner.

Be sure to check the specific qualifications and eligibility requirements for running for coroner in your local area.

#3: Finding Your Driving Force

Becoming a county coroner is a difficult job. The campaign process can take a significant amount of money, time, work, and academic credentials. Following your election, you will also have a variety of coroner responsibilities and problems to handle. Dealing with a range of circumstances that could impact the criminal justice system, forensic science, the deceased and their families' civil rights, and public health and safety are all part of the job description of a county coroner. As a result, you must have a strong and convincing motive for wanting to run for coroner.

#4: Understanding the Election Timeline

Identifying all of the key dates and deadlines you’ll need to meet while running for office is an imperative step toward launching your campaign. The first major deadline candidates will need to meet is the filing deadline. Filing deadlines vary from place to place, so be sure to check the specific deadlines and filing requirements for your location.

To give you a general idea of the timeline, here are some of the filing deadlines for the election of coroners in 2024:

  • The filing period for various county coroners in New York ends on May 28, 2024.

  • The filing period for various county coroners in Illinois ends on June 24, 2024.

  • The filing period for various county coroners in Georgia ends on July 9, 2024.

  • The filing period for various county coroners in Indiana ends on July 15, 2024.

  • The filing period for various county coroners in South Carolina ends on August 15, 2024.

  • The filing period for various county coroners in Missouri ends on August 20, 2024.

To learn more about the filing requirements in your county, explore details here. Note whether candidates for coroner are required to collect a certain number of registered signatures, whether they are required to declare a party affiliation, and what campaign finance requirements campaigns must adhere to. You can also find information on your state’s Secretary of State’s website, or on the website of your county clerk or recorder.

#5: Planning Your Campaign

After making sure you meet all coroner qualifications and establishing your election timeline, it’s time to build a campaign plan. Here are some winning strategies to get you started:

  • Establish your campaign objectives and develop a financial plan, including plans for online fundraising.

  • Assemble your campaign team and network of volunteers.

  • Develop your campaign platform and message. This will be the message you present to voters, highlighting your credentials and encouraging them to support your campaign.

  • Design your campaign materials and website.

  • Plan your voter outreach strategy. Depending on the competitiveness of your campaign, this could include campaign advertising, door-to-door canvassing, phone banking, and attending local events.

  • Explore the possibility of earning endorsements, such as from local leaders and organizations.

After this step, it’s time to dive into voter outreach, campaign fundraising, and getting out the vote ahead of election day.

Keep in mind that there may be difficulties, roadblocks, and setbacks on the campaign trail. Throughout your campaign, it can be helpful to maintain your resolve and commitment to serving your community as a coroner.

Free Support for Independent and Non-partisan Campaigns

Running for coroner doesn’t need to be a partisan affair. For those running for office as independents or non-partisan candidates, Good Party offers free campaign tools and support. Our AI Campaign Manager lets you instantly create custom campaign materials, from voter outreach emails to door-to-door canvassing scripts and more. You’ll also get access to expert support, resources for navigating campaign finance, and the option to invest in phone banking and text banking support.

Ready to get started? Book a free consultation today, or learn more about how the AI Campaign Manager can help kickstart your campaign for coroner.

Photo by David von Diemar on Unsplash


Free tools to power your campaign

Get a demo of our free campaign tools for independent candidates
Frame 13


How to Run for Office
Police Tape
By Good Party Politics Team
The politics team is focused on transforming the political landscape by promoting transparency, accountability, and positive change. They aim to engage citizens in the political process, encourage informed decision-making, and support candidates who prioritize the common good. Their mission revolves around creating a more fair and just political system, fostering collaboration, and breaking down traditional barriers of partisanship.