Ballot access in the United States refers to the rules and procedures regulating the conditions under which a candidate, political party, or ballot measure is entitled to appear on voters' ballots. As the nation's election process is decentralized by Article I, Section 4, of the United States Constitution, ballot access laws are established and enforced by the states. As a result, ballot access processes may vary from one state to another. State access requirements for candidates generally pertain to personal qualities of a candidate, such as: minimum age, residency, citizenship, and being a qualified voter. Additionally, many states require prospective candidates to collect a specified number of qualified voters' signatures on petitions of support and mandate the payment of filing fees before granting access; ballot measures are similarly regulated. Each state also regulates how political parties qualify for automatic ballot access, and how those minor parties that do not can. Fundamental to democracy, topics related to ballot access are the subject of considerable debate in the United States.