Candidate Guide

Lynda Roberts, Registrar of Voters, Elections

Candidate Guide

Presidential Primary Election - March 5, 2024

This guide provides information about candidate forms, fees, requirements, and deadlines for the March 5, 2024 Presidential Primary Election.

The nomination process can be complicated, and the filing deadlines are rigid. It is a good idea to file your candidate paperwork early. Otherwise, you may not have enough time to correct any mistakes before the deadline.

If you have questions about your candidacy or any information presented in this guide, please email Dan Miller or call (415) 473-6437

Important! The Candidate Guide provides general information about the nomination and election of candidates. It does not have the force and effect of law, regulation, or rule.

The Registrar of Voters does not provide legal advice and this guide is not intended to provide legal advice. Any person, organization or candidate using this guide may not rely on it as a substitute to seeking legal counsel. Statutes and regulations change and are updated on a frequent basis; therefore, the guidelines provided in this booklet may not reflect the most current state of the law.

If you prefer, download a PDF version of the March 5, 2024 Presidential Primary Election Candidate Guide

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Common Questions

Important Dates

This calendar is not applicable for Presidential candidates.
Contact our office for details.

March 5, 2024 - Presidential Primary Election
Dates Description # of days before election
September 14, 2023 thru
November 8, 2023

Signature-In-Lieu of Filing Fee period
The Signature-In-Lieu filing period applies to candidates whose contest requires a filing fee. Elections Code 8061, 8105, 8106 & SB 594 (excluding municipal offices) 173 - 118
October 30, 2023 thru
November 8, 2023

Superior Court Judges
Declaration of Intention
All judicial candidates including incumbent judges must file a Declaration of Intention no later than November 8th. Superior Court candidates must also pay the filing fee when the Declaration of Intention is filed. Elections Code 8023, 8105(b) 127 - 118
November 9, 2023 thru
November 13, 2023

Superior Court offices
Declaration of Intention extension period
Extension period applies only if an incumbent judge does not file a Declaration of Intention by November 8th. Incumbent judges may not file during this period. Elections Code 8023(b) 117 - 113
November 13, 2023 thru
December 8, 2023

Nomination period for all candidates
Candidates including incumbents must file all required and optional documents, or withdraw as a candidate.
Candidates for municipal offices must pick up and file nomination documents at their City/Town Clerk’s office.
(Some cities charge a filing fee)
113 - 88
December 9, 2023 thru
December 18, 2023

Public review of candidate statements and ballot designations
During this period a candidate or voter of the jurisdiction in which the election is being held, may file legal action to challenge a candidate’s statement or ballot designation filed during the nomination period. Elections Code 13313 & 13314 87-78
December 9, 2023 thru
December 13, 2023

Extended nomination period if necessary
The nomination period will remain open if an incumbent does not file by the December 8th deadline.
Incumbents may not file during this period.
December 14, 2023 thru
December 23, 2023

Public review of candidate statements and ballot designations
During this period a candidate or voter of the jurisdiction in which the election is being held, may file legal action to challenge a candidate’s statement or ballot designation filed during the extension period. Elections Code 13313 & 13314 82-73
December 14, 2023
Random alphabet drawing
The Secretary of State conducts a random drawing to decide the order of candidate names on the ballot. The Registrar of Voters draws the random alphabet for State Assembly and State Senate candidates for the Marin County ballot. Elections Code 13113 82
January 8, 2024 thru
February 20, 2024

Write-in candidacy
Write-in candidates for certain offices must pick up and file papers at the Marin County Elections Department.
Write-in candidates for municipal offices must pick up and file papers with their respective City/Town Clerk’s office. Elections Code 8601
January 20, 2024
Overseas & Military Ballots
Deadline for our office to transmit ballots and balloting materials to absent military or overseas voters registered by this date. 45
January 25, 2024
Voter Information Guide
The Elections Department will begin mailing Voter Information Guides to all registered voters in the county. 40
January 25, 2024
Campaign finance
Candidates must file at least 1 campaign finance report by this date regardless of their level of activity.
Active committees will file subsequent reports according to the filing schedule provided by the State.
February 5, 2024
Vote-by-Mail ballots
The Elections Department begins mailing vote-by-mail ballots to all registered voters in the county.
Marin County voters may pick-up a vote-by-mail ballot at the Elections Department starting this date.
February 19, 2024
Voter registration deadline
This is the last day to register to vote for this election.
If voters miss the registration deadline they must register and vote at the Elections Department or at a vote center.
March 5, 2024
Election Day
Vote centers including the Marin County Elections Department will be open 7 am – 8 pm. 0
April 4, 2024
Election certification
The deadline for the Marin County Elections Department to certify the county’s election results. +30

The complete Presidential Primary Election Calendar can be found on the Secretary of State website, along with additional information for State and Federal candidates.

Offices Open

  • Offices Open for Nomination
    • Party Nominated Offices
      • President of the United States

        There are two methods by which a person may have his or her name placed on the ballot as a presidential candidate: by determination of the Secretary of State that a person is a generally recognized candidate; or by circulating nomination papers per Elections Code §6000 et, seq.

      • County Central Committees

        County Central Committees are allowed to determine the manner of election of its members. Our office may receive written requests to conduct central committee elections. The period for candidate committee nominations will begin September 29 to December 8, 2023.
        All necessary documents and instructions will be provided during that period.

    • Voter Nominated Offices
      • United States Senator

        Qualifications: Every candidate shall be at least 30 years of age, a U.S. citizen for nine years, and a resident of California on January 3, 2025, the date to be sworn into office if elected.
        (There is no CA durational residency requirement to be a candidate for U.S. Senate) U.S. Constitution, Art. I, §3; 20th Amend., §1

        • Filing Fee - $3,480.00
        • Value/Signature - $0.497 (7,000 total signatures)
        • Required Sponsor Signatures – 65 to100


        • 1 full term – 6 Years
        • 1 partial term – ending January 2025
      • U. S. Representative in Congress, 2nd District

        Qualifications: Every candidate shall be at least 25 years of age, a U.S. citizen for seven years, and a resident of California on January 3, 2025, the date to be sworn into office if elected.
        (There is no CA durational residency requirement to be a candidate for U.S. Representative in Congress) U.S. Constitution, Art. I, §2; 20th Amend., §1

        • 2 Year Term
        • Filing Fee - $1,740.00
        • Value/Signature - $0.87 (2,000 total signatures)
        • Required Sponsor Signatures – 40 to 60
      • California State Assembly, 12th District

        Qualifications: U.S. citizen, registered voter and qualified to vote for that office at the time nomination papers are issued; not convicted of a felony involving public monies; comply with term limit rules pursuant to State law. CA Constitution, art. IV, §22 (a)(4) and §2 (c)

        • 2 Year Term
        • Filing Fee - $1,226.94
        • Value/Signature - $1.22694 (1,000 total signatures)
        • Required Sponsor Signatures – 40 to 60
    • Marin County Offices
      • Superior Court Judicial Offices

        Qualifications: Qualifications: Member of the State Bar or judge of a court of record in California for the preceding 10 years (Art. VI, Sec. 15, Cal. Const.). Candidates shall complete all necessary nomination documents and shall provide documentation to the Marin County Elections Department to sufficiently establish qualification.

        • 6 Year Term
        • Filing Fee - $2,311.74
        • Value/Signature - $0.33 (7,006 total signatures)
        • Required Sponsor Signatures – 20 to 40

        Seats and Incumbents:

        • Office No. 1 – Judge James Chou
        • Office No. 2 – Judge Beth Jordan
        • Office No. 3 – Judge Kelly Simmons
      • Marin County Board of Supervisors

        Qualifications: Candidate shall have been a registered voter of the district which he/she seeks to represent for at least 30 days immediately preceding the deadline for filing nomination documents for the office of supervisor and shall reside in the district during his/her incumbency. (Government Code §25041)

        • 4 Year Term
        • Filing Fee - $1,445.18
        • Value/Signature - $0.33 (4,380 total signatures)
        • Required Sponsor Signatures – 20 to 40

        Seats and Incumbents:

        • District 2 - Katie Rice
        • District 3 – Stephanie Moulton-Peters
        • District 4 – Dennis Rodoni
    • Special Districts

      Qualifications: Candidate must reside and be a registered voter in the district.
      Additional qualifications may be determined by the principal act of the district.

      • 4 Year Term
      • Sponsor signatures are not required


      • Almonte Sanitary District: three full term seats
      • Ross Valley Sanitary District: two full term seats
    • Municipal Offices / Council Members

      Candidates must contact the City/Town Clerk regarding filing fees, and must file nomination papers, declaration papers, and all campaign finance reports with their respective City or Town Clerk.

      Refer to Government Code Section 34882 for the qualifications to run for this office.

      • 4 Year Term
      • A minimum of 20 sponsor signatures are required for towns/cities. (Elections Code §10220)


      • Town of Ross Councilmembers: three full term seats
  • Insufficient number of candidates and/or no contest

    If the number of candidates filing papers for a specific contest does not exceed the number of seats to be filled, those candidates will be appointed-in-lieu of an election.

    If the number of candidates are less than the number of seats to be filled:

    • Special Districts

      The Board of Supervisors will appoint any qualified person(s) who will then serve exactly as if elected. (Elections Code §10515)

    • Municipal elections

      The city’s governing body may adopt one of the following courses of action (Elections Code §10229):

      • Appoint those persons having filed nomination papers before the deadline
      • Appoint an eligible person who had not filed before the deadline
      • Hold the election
    • Superior Court Judge

      If the incumbent is the only candidate to file nomination papers for that office:

      • Their name shall not appear on the primary election ballot unless a petition indicating that a write-in campaign will be conducted for the office and signed by at least 0.1 percent of the registered voters eligible to vote for the office, is filed with the Registrar, within 10 days after the close of the nomination period. (Elections Code §8203)
  • Placement of names on the ballot / Randomized Alphabet Drawing

    The order in which candidates’ names appear on the ballot is specified in Elections Code §13111 and §13112, and Elections Code §13109 specifies the order of offices on the ballot.

    At 11:00 a.m. on the 82nd day before the election, the Secretary of State’s Office and the Marin County Registrar of Voters separately pick each letter of the alphabet at random according to the procedure specified in Elections Code §13112 compiling their own randomized alphabet list.

    Each candidate will be placed on the ballot in the order that each of the letters of his/her surname was drawn. For example, the placement of candidates with the surnames of Campbell and Carlson will depend on the order in which the letters M and R were drawn.

    The Secretary of State’s Office will determine name placement for all contests except that the Marin County Registrar of Voters draws for State Senator and State Assembly.

  • Applying to be a Candidate

    Before you receive any nomination documents from the Elections Department you must complete and file the Candidate Application Form online or in person at our office. If using our online document you will receive an email with instructions and additional information.

    Our office requires a contact email address and phone number on the application. We also ask that you choose one or both so the media and general public may contact you.

    If you cannot pick up your nomination papers you may have someone with signed authorization receive your papers for you. Descriptions of the nomination documents are in the Candidate Nomination Papers section.

Candidate Nomination Papers

  • Declaration of Intention – Superior Court Candidates Only

    To be a candidate for Superior Court Judge you must first file the Declaration of Intention. The filing period for this form is October 30 through November 8, 2023.

    • Nonrefundable filing fees

      When you file your Declaration of Intention you must pay the nonrefundable filing fee and/or submit the full or prorated number of signatures in lieu.

    • Office number

      You must declare the office number on your Declaration of Intention.

    • If the incumbent fails to file a Declaration of Intention

      If the incumbent fails to file a Declaration of Intention by the November 8th deadline, anyone other than the incumbent may file a Declaration of Intention by November 13, 2023.

    • If an incumbent judge has filed a Declaration of Intention

      If an incumbent judge has filed a Declaration of Intention but failed to file nomination papers by the December 8th nomination deadline, this period will extend to December 13, 2023. Any qualified person other than the incumbent may file nomination papers for the office during this period even though he or she has not filed a Declaration of Intention. This candidate must pay the filing fee when his or her nomination papers are issued.

  • Signatures-in-Lieu of Filing Fee Petition

    If you are a candidate for an office that requires a salary-based filing fee you may gather signatures of registered voters to help defray the cost of the filing fee. This filing period begins September 14 through November 8, 2023.

    • Signatures collected by candidates for County offices are valued at 3/dollar, or 7% of the total number of registered voters, whichever is less.
    • Statewide candidates are provided this information by the Secretary of State.
    • All qualified signatures from your Signatures-in-Lieu petition will count toward your nomination signatures, reducing or eliminating the requirement to collect additional signatures.
    • Filing fees
      • Are nonrefundable and must be paid before receiving your nomination documents.
      • Filing fees for Non-Partisan offices may be paid by cash, money order, certified, travelers or personal check made payable to Registrar of Voters.
      • Filing fees for Partisan and Voter Nominated offices must be paid by check made payable to the Secretary of State.
    • Circulating Signature Petitions
      • A candidate may serve as the circulator to collect signatures.
      • Any registered voter who is a resident of the jurisdiction can sign a petition for any candidate for whom he/she is eligible to vote.
      • Signatures gathered from other counties for a multi-county district office must be delivered and processed at the Elections Office in those counties.
      • Anyone 18 years or older, regardless of their state of residence, can circulate nomination or in lieu petitions for signatures.
  • Nomination Petition Signatures

    If you are not filing Signatures-in-Lieu petitions, and you are a candidate for county, city, federal, state, or judicial office, you must file nomination petitions with the minimum number of sponsor signatures.

    Those signing your nomination papers must be a registered voter and eligible to vote for your contest. Each signer must provide their printed name, signature, residence address, city, and sign in the presence of the candidate or circulator.

    • The petition will not be accepted if any information including the circulator’s affidavit is not completed in full.
    • All nomination petitions must be received by the close of the filing period.
    • A candidate may sign their own petition.
    • A registered voter may not sign for more candidates than the number of positions available for nomination.
  • Declaration of Candidacy

    The Declaration of Candidacy form must be completed in the office of the elections official or signed and witnessed by a registered California Notary Public and filed in the office of the elections official with all other required documents by the end of the nomination period.

    A candidate may authorize in writing to have a person receive and deliver the Declaration of Candidacy. The candidate must indicate that he or she is aware the Declaration must be properly executed and filed with the elections official by the end of the nomination period.

    Candidates may not file a Declaration of Candidacy form for more than one term of office for the same district, or for more than one district or municipal office at a time. (Election Code §8003(b), §10510(b), §10220.5)

    • Voter Nominated Offices (State legislative offices, and U.S. federal offices)

      You must indicate on the Declaration of Candidacy the party preference chosen on your most recent affidavit of registration. The party preference will be printed after your name on the ballot. If you did not list a party preference, the words "Party Preference: None" will be printed. (Election Code §8002.5)

      • Your preference is not meant to presume you are the nominee of, nor endorsed by, the party.
      • Any qualified voter may vote for any candidate for a voter-nominated office regardless of the candidate’s or voter’s preference.
      • You must also provide a 10-year history of your party registration which will be posted on the Secretary of State’s website.
      • The party preference or no preference from the Primary Election ballot will be the same for the General Election ballot.
    • How do you want your name to appear on the ballot?

      Indicate your name preference on the Declaration of Candidacy form. You can keep your voter registration name, or you may designate your name as follows:

      • You can use your nickname in quotation marks, along with your legal name on your form. You may also use a first name that you’re known by in your community. Either choice must include your registered last name.
      • First, middle, and last name
      • Initials only and last name
      • A familiar or common version of the first name such as Bill for William or Becky for Rebecca, etc.

      The name you choose to write on the Declaration of Candidacy form is the only name that shall be on the ballot and written on other candidate papers. (A.G. Ops 50-87, 5/27/80)

      Please note, you cannot have titles or degrees with your name on the ballot. (Election Code §13106)

    • Ballot Designation

      On the ballot under your name is the Ballot Designation. It is optional, but if you choose a designation then you must indicate this on the Declaration of Candidacy form.

      If you choose not to have a designation, write “NONE” on your Declaration of Candidacy form where it asks for your designation. Also put your initials after the word “NONE.”

      If you choose to have a designation you must complete a Ballot Designation Worksheet, but if you do not choose a designation then the worksheet is not required.

  • Ballot Designation Worksheet

    The Ballot Designation refers to your current occupation, vocation, profession, or incumbency status. You may list more than one profession, occupation, or vocation, but you must separate them with a slash: Professor/Mother/Doctor.

    You are limited to three words. The exception is that an elected official can use the exact title of the office currently held: Director, ABC Fire Protection District.

    Note: If you choose words that are very long they may be printed in a smaller font size.

    If you decide to use a ballot designation you must fill out a Ballot Designation Worksheet (Election Code §13107.3; Admin. Code §20710 thru §20719) and file it with your candidate papers by the deadline. (Election Code §13107)

    California state law requires that your designation describes your current occupation, profession, vocation, or what you did for a living during the 12 months before the filing deadline. The words you choose must be generic and neutral, but accurate and not misleading.

    Primary candidates, your ballot designation will be the same for both primary and general elections (if applicable), unless at least 98 days before the general election, you request in writing a different designation which you are entitled to use at the time of the request.

    • Request for supporting documents

      (Admin.Code §20717)

      Candidates are responsible for providing thorough and accurate information. The Elections Department or Secretary of State may request supporting documentation or evidence supporting a candidate’s proposed ballot designation. It is important to accurately complete the worksheet with as much information as you can provide.

    • Rejection of ballot designations

      (Election Code §13107.5)

      Each designation is evaluated based on guidelines and restrictions stated in the Elections Code. Designations will be determined given a candidate’s individual circumstance.

      The Secretary of State’s office administers rules and procedures for State and Federal candidates. The worksheet must be fully completed, otherwise it will be rejected and returned by the State.

      Candidates are given an opportunity to make a correction. If you do not provide an acceptable alternative designation by the deadline, no ballot designation will be listed after your name.

      The following chart lists certain designations that are deemed generally not acceptable; however this is only a partial listing.

      Do not use words that… Examples
      Evaluate outstanding, leading, expert, virtuous, eminent, best, exalted, prominent, activist, reformer, pro, anti
      Suggest status and not your occupation taxpayer, patriot, citizen, renter, presidential appointee, husband, wife, scholar, veteran, concerned citizen, activist
      Suggest a religious or ethnic group Asian, Christian, Irish
      Suggest a political party or ideology Conservative, Democrat, Republican, Socialism, Absolutism, Anarchist
      Pro Forma positions or vocations honorary, hostess, goodwill ambassador
      (see CA Admin. Code 20716)
      Suggest previous occupations former, ex (You may use retired. (See Rules for specific types of ballot designations and candidates below.)
      Name of a company, agency, or person Instead of: IBM President, use: Computer Corporation President
      Instead of: Director, DMV, use: State Agency Director
      Mislead An occasional activity, hobby, or position that takes up little of your time. You may have to give proof to support the accuracy of your designation.
    • Rejection Exceptions
      • There may be exceptions regarding a designation. A specific occupation, vocation, or profession typically not allowed may be considered if certain conditions apply.
      • A designation which does not describe a significant involvement on the part of the candidate, and which is only nominal, pro forma, or titular is generally not accepted. Exceptions can be those which are proven to have certain decision-making abilities such as government planning, or an agency’s financial responsibilities.
      • All designations are decided individually and may not be applicable from one candidate to another, depending on each evaluation.
      • Any exception must be approved by the Elections official for that contest, and may refer to the California Administrative Code for additional clarification.
    • Rules for specific types of ballot designations and candidates
      • If you are an incumbent, you may use:
        • Your elected title, even if the title has more than 3 words
          Example: Board Member, ABC School District
        • Your elected position and your other occupation or vocation, if you use 3 words or less
          Example: Board Member/Teacher
        • The word Incumbent (no other words allowed) if you are filing for the same office you hold now.
          • Only local candidates do not have to justify the use of the word incumbent. You may simply write “current officeholder” in the justification sections or leave it blank. The election staff will stamp as confirmed
      • If you are an appointed incumbent, you may use:
        • The words Appointed Incumbent (no other words allowed) if you are running for the same office you hold now.
          • Only local candidates do not have to justify the use of the words appointed incumbent. You may simply write “current officeholder” in the justification sections or leave it blank. The election staff will stamp as confirmed
          Judicial candidates having been appointed to a judicial seat are not required to use this designation and can use Incumbent instead.
        • The word Appointedalong with your current elected position and the jurisdiction (Appointed Board Member, ABC School District), or the word Appointed along with your current elected position and another designation (Appointed Trustee/Mother).
      • If you are a non-incumbent judicial candidate and an active member of the State Bar, you must use either:
        • “Attorney,” “Attorney at Law,” “Lawyer,” or “Counselor at Law”.
        • Words designating the actual job title if employed by the city, county, district, state, or federal office held by the candidate at the time of filing and must contain relevant qualifiers such as “City of...”, “County of...”, or the full name of the governmental agency.
        • If your designation describes your position in performing quasi-judicial functions for a governmental agency, the full name of that agency must be included.
        • The designations “Attorney” and “Lawyer” may be used in combination with one other designation held currently or within the previous calendar year (Attorney/Website Developer).
      • You may use the words community volunteer if:

        (Election Code §13107.5 & Admin. Code §20714.5)

        • You are substantially involved as a community volunteer with bona fide organizations,
        • You do not have another principal occupation or vocation, and
        • You do not add any other words to describe another occupation or vocation.
      • You may use the word retired if:

        (Admin. Code §20716(h)(1))

        • You are 55 or older, and worked at your last job or vocation for more than 5 years and left voluntarily;
        • A principal source of your income is from a retirement plan or retirement benefits (or you are eligible to receive retirement benefits).
        • You cannot use retired if you have had more recent professions, occupations, or vocations.

        Note: You must not abbreviate retired or place it after the word(s) it modifies.

  • Candidate Statement Rules & Formatting

    You have the option to file a 200-word candidate statement to be printed in the Marin County Voter Information Guide. Congressional & State Assembly candidates are allowed 250 words.

    • File your statement no later than 5 p.m., December 8, 2023. If you are filing for office during an extended nomination period, the deadline is 5 p.m., December 13, 2023.
    • Our office requires a check as payment for your statement, and it is required when filing your nomination documents.
    • If applicable to your candidacy you have the option to print your statement in multiple counties. Each county must receive payment directly from you.
    • Review your statement carefully and/or proofread with another person because you are not allowed to correct typos or mistakes after the close of the filing period.
    • If you choose to withdraw your statement you must do so by the close of business of the next working day after the close of the nomination period. Your check will be returned to you by mail or you may come to our office.
    • Candidate statements must be submitted in electronic version, preferably in Word. Candidates filing a handwritten statement will be charged an additional $150 fee.
    • The cost of your statement is an estimate of the actual costs that may vary between elections depending on several factors. The estimated costs are listed in the Candidate Statement Fees below for each contest.
    • Content requirements

      Your candidate statement can include information about your education, experience, and other qualifications, and shall not include information about your party affiliations, memberships, or activities in any political party organizations. (Election Code §13307(a); §13308). Listing memberships to or affiliations with organizations that are found to have distinct political inclinations may not be accepted.

      You shall not directly or indirectly reference any other candidate, nor suggest or imply the qualification of other candidates by stating “I am the only candidate…”, or any other similar wording. If your statement does not comply, the elections official will require changes.

      Endorsements by individuals and organizations are allowed but must be verified by written authorization (email is acceptable) directly from the endorsers. The endorsement must include the candidate’s name, the elective office, the date of the election, and the name of the endorser.

      The use of non-endorsing individual or organization’s name in a statement is only allowed if being used exclusively as biographical information.

    • Formatting requirements

      All candidate statements must be uniform in type and size, and single-spaced lines.

      • No ALL CAPS (use upper and lower case)
      • No italics, no bold, no underlining, no highlighting
      • No clusters of exclamation points!!!!
      • No bullets or numbered lists (we will replace with semicolons and wrap text)
      • Indents are allowed
      • 200 words maximum based on rules specified in Elections Code §9.
      • Word count begins after “Education and Qualifications” on a Candidate Statement
      • The candidate’s website is allowed and is counted as one word.

      Your statement must fit in a quarter page area. If needed we will adjust the font size and spacing of your statement.

      Your name must match your name on the ballot. Variations are not allowed. Age and Occupation are optional.

      Occupation must be truthful, and may refer to your current employment or vocation, or status as an active licensed professional even if not currently employed as such, for example, physician or attorney. Unlike the ballot designation, you may use the word former or retired even if you do not receive a pension or it this was not your last profession or employment.


      Greatest City

      JANE DOE                                                                    AGE: 35
      Occupation: Manager, Parent, Writer
      Education and Qualifications:
           I can bring to the office a diversity of viewpoints and experience. Born and raised in the San Francisco area, with my family still farming, I can appreciate the concerns of the environmentalists.
      With my experience in the rental and real estate field, I appreciate the practical housing choices and frustrations with high rental cost.
           I advocate a program to protect our neighborhoods from increasing overcrowding and visual blight. As a Member of the City Council, I would bring balanced points of view.
           I am endorsed by Dr. Fig Newton, the Council of Likable Folks, and the Association of Amazing Shovels.
           I humbly ask for your vote.
           Jane Doe

    • How to Count Words

      Candidate statements are limited to a certain number of words. The rules below explain how we count words. These rules are based on California law. Before you file your statement count the words carefully. If you have too many words we will ask you to revise your text.

      We do not count any part of the “Occupation” section, or the words “Education and Qualifications” on a Candidate Statement.

      Items counted as 1 word Examples
      Symbols and numerals with symbols that form a single word &, #, %, 100s, $1000, 10¢, 12th
      Abbreviations and acronyms Dist., UCLA, U.S.M.C., FYI
      All dates in any form 7/21/89, or July 4, 1776
      Numbers and phone numbers 12, 1,000,000, 415-473-6456
      Website and e-mail addresses;
      Proper nouns beginning with capital letters including the names of people, places, and certain things; and official names of jurisdictions and districts. New Jersey, County of Marin, Tamalpais Union High School District, Marin General Hospital, Bob Hope, Internal Revenue Service, Ford F150
      Hyphenated words listed in a standard U.S. dictionary published within 10 years before the date of the election. Attorney-at-law, ex-president, merry-go-round, seventy-two
      Items not counted as 1 word Examples
      Numbers written as words one hundred
      Groups of common nouns not definable as proper nouns peck of pickled peppers, political veteran, presiding judge
      Items NOT counted Examples
      Punctuation marks ? “ ” !
    • Candidate Statement Fees

      All candidates must pay a fee to have their statement printed in the Marin County Voter Information Guide. If you wish to have your statement printed in Spanish there are additional charges including a translation fee.

      The figures below are early estimates based on the cost of printing and typesetting, and the total number of registered voters allowed to vote in the jurisdiction by election day.

      Candidates must provide a blank check made payable to the Marin County Elections Department. On the memo line, write "not to exceed" in the amount shown below for the applicable contest. On the following page is a sample of how it should look. Your check will be cashed after the election when the final costs are tallied.

      • County Board of Supervisors
        • District 1
          • Number of Jurisdiction Voters, 36,980
          • Statement printed in English only, $490
          • Statement printed in English and Spanish, $1,080
        • District 2
          • Number of Jurisdiction Voters, 37,821
          • Statement printed in English only, $500
          • Statement printed in English and Spanish, $1,100
        • District 3
          • Number of Jurisdiction Voters, 29,173
          • Statement printed in English only, $425
          • Statement printed in English and Spanish, $950
      • County-wide Contests
        • Assembly, Congressional, and Judges
          • Number of Jurisdiction Voters, 170,757
          • Statement printed in English only, $1,645
          • Statement printed in English and Spanish, $3,390
      • Special Districts
        • Almonte Sanitary District
          • Number of Jurisdiction Voters, 1,331
          • Statement printed in English only, $180
          • Statement printed in English and Spanish, $460
        • Ross Valley Sanitary District #1
          • Number of Jurisdiction Voters, 33,699
          • Statement printed in English only, $460
          • Statement printed in English and Spanish, $1,020
      • City/Town Councils
        • City of Mill Valley
          • Number of Jurisdiction Voters, 10,549
          • Statement printed in English only, $260
          • Statement printed in English and Spanish, $620
        • Town of Ross
          • Number of Jurisdiction Voters, 1,746
          • Statement printed in English only, $185
          • Statement printed in English and Spanish, $470
      • State Voluntary Expenditure Limits

        State Assembly candidates accepting the voluntary expenditure limits listed below may purchase space in our Voter Information Guide by filing the Form 501 (Candidate Statement of Intention) with the Secretary of State. (Government Code §85601)

        2024 Primary Election $727,000

        2024 General Election $1,273,000

      • Sample of Candidate Statement Check
        • Candidates must provide a blank check made payable to the Marin County Elections Department
        • Write Not to Exceed $(estimated cost) in the memo space of the check
        • The Elections Department will determine the final amount after determining all associated costs
        An image of how to fill in a check for a Candidate Statement deposit
  • Statement of Economic Interests Form 700

    The Political Reform Act requires candidates and most government officials to publicly disclose their personal assets and income, and also disqualify themselves from participating in decisions that may affect their personal economic interests.

    When filing your candidate papers you must also file the Form 700, disclosing your personal assets and income for the previous calendar year.

    While sometimes popularly called “conflict-of-interest statements,” any conflict of interests under the Political Reform Act can only come about if a public official makes or participates in making a government decision that has a reasonably foreseeable material financial effect on the official’s personal financial interests. Also, the law does not require all relevant personal financial interests (such as ownership of a personal residence in most cases) to be disclosed on the statement of economic interests.

    The Form 700 is a public document and is required to be made available by request and/or posted online.

    If you are elected or appointed to office, you must file this form with the appropriate filing officer for your jurisdiction within 30 days of taking office, and then annually until you leave office.

    The Form 700 and instructions will be included with your candidate packet.

    For more information go to the Fair Political Practices Commission website.

  • Campaign Finance rules & reporting
    • Basic Rules for All Candidate Committees
      • All campaign finance reports are considered public and may be posted online.
      • Deposit all campaign funds in a separate bank account that is only for the campaign. You cannot add contributed funds to personal accounts.
      • Do not use the same bank account, committee, or committee name that you used in a previous election if you are running for a different office.
      • Open a campaign finance committee at any time using a Form 410. You must open a committee once you raise or spend $2000 for your campaign.
      • Record all contributions and expenses of $25 or more. (Your FPPC manual offers guidelines for recordkeeping.)
      • Document any donation worth $100 or more, including cash, loans, and in-kind contributions, including the contributor’s name, address, occupation, and employer.
      • Do not use your campaign funds for non-campaign expenses or to make independent expenditures to support or oppose other candidates.
      • If you receive $1000 or more from a single source in the last 90 days before the election, you must disclose it within 24 hours, even if the contributions are from your personal funds. This includes separate contributions from the same source that add up to $1000 or more.
      • Candidates for county office must adhere to the State campaign contribution limit of $5,500 from each individual, committee, and political party per election.
      • Important! Your campaign finance reporting requirements do not end with the election. Be prepared to continuously file reports until you close your committee.
    • State Offices

      If you are a candidate for a state office you are required to register with the California Secretary of State and file financial activity reports. Candidates and committees who raise or spend more than $25,000 must electronically file their reports; those who spend or raise less than $25,000 may file paper reports.

    • Voluntary Expenditure Limits for State Candidates

      Expenditure limits are found on the Secretary of State’s website. You must file the Candidate In-tention Statement (Form 501) to accept the voluntary expenditure limits established for each election.

    • Reporting Deadlines for Local Candidates
      Deadline Use This Form Period Reported
      January 31, 2024* 460 - Semi-Annual Thru – 12/31/23
      January 25, 2024* 460 – 1st Pre-election Jan 1 - Jan 20
      February 22, 2024 460 – 2nd Pre-election Jan 21 - Feb 17
      Within 24 hours 497 - Late Contribution Report ($1000 or more in aggregate from a single source) Dec 6, 2023 thru March 5, 2024
      July 31, 2024 460 - Semi-Annual Feb 18 – June 30

      * The deadline for the first pre-election statement for calendar year 2024 is earlier than the deadline for the semi-annual statement for calendar year 2023. A candidate committee may file the 2023 semi-annual statement on January 25, 2024.

      E-filing! Local candidate finance statements can be e-filed. It is free, saves time, and you will not have to provide signatures or hard copies. For more information call 415-473-6437.

    • Fines and Penalties

      Candidates and committees that do not file or who file late deny the public the right to view timely campaign finance reports. State law gives local elections officials and the Fair Political Practices Commission the authority to assess fines due to filing violations. (Government Code §91013).

      The fines levied by the Marin County Elections Department are $10 per day for each day past the deadline until the required report is filed. If the fines are not paid, the Elections Department may file a civil action against the candidate/committee for the amount owed. If the report is never filed the Elections Department will report the candidate/committee to the Enforcement Division of the Fair Political Practices Commission.

      The filing officer for Marin County Elections Department is allowed to waive a fine if it is determined the late filing was not intentional and the report was filed before the waiver of liability period ends.

    • Reporting Violations

      If a committee or candidate has violated any campaign disclosure requirement, any person in the affected jurisdiction may file an action or ask for an injunction (Government Code §91003). Marin County Elections Department will not investigate or prosecute violations, except for civil actions to collect fines.

    • Campaign Finance Forms

      The following is a list of forms used by most local candidates. Other reports may be required depending on the committee’s activity. Please refer to FPPC Manual 2 for more information.

      • Form 501 – Statement of Intent

        Candidates for state or local office must file this form prior to solicitation or receipt of any contribution, or expenditure of personal funds used for the election. Exception: This form is not required if you will not solicit or receive contributions from other persons, and the only expenditures will be from your personal funds used for the filing fee and statement of qualification in the voter information guide. Candidates who file a Form 501 must establish a separate bank account with a financial institution in California, if they accept contributions. Refer to FPPC Manual 2 for more information.

      • Form 470 – Campaign Statement

        All candidates who have filed a Form 501 must file at least one campaign statement before the election. Candidates may file the Form 470 if they do not have a controlled committee, do not anticipate receiving contributions totaling $2000 or more during the calendar year, and do not anticipate spending $2000 or more during the calendar year. The Form 470 is filed once, by the first pre-election due date. If the $2000 threshold is achieved, candidates must file the Form 470 Supplement, and establish a campaign committee. Please refer to Manual 2 for more information.

      • Form 410 – Statement of Organization

        Candidates must use Form 410 to establish a campaign committee, no later than within 10 days after the committee has spent or received $2000 or more. Form 410 is also used to amend changes to the committee and terminate the committee. By establishing a committee, candidates are required to file periodic campaign statements until the committee is closed. All committees must file the Form 410 with the Secretary of State and their local filing agency. Please refer to Manual 2 for more information.

      • Form 460 – Recipient Committee Campaign Statement

        Candidate controlled committees are required to use Form 460 to report all campaign activity during scheduled semi-annual and pre-election periods. Statements must be completed fully and accurately and filed on time per the filing schedule. Please refer to Manual 2 for more information.

      • Form 497 – Late Contribution Report

        A Late Contribution Report must be filed if a committee controlled by the candidate receives a contribution (including aggregated amounts) from a single source, or makes contributions, totaling $1,000 or more to a candidate or primarily formed committee during the 90 days prior to the candidate’s election. This form does not have a waiver of liability period if not filed within 24 hours.

      • Form 461 – Major Donor and Independent Expenditure Committee

        An individual or entity that makes monetary or nonmonetary contributions (including loans) to local officeholders, candidates, and committees totaling $10,000 or more in a calendar year; or an individual or entity that makes independent expenditures totaling $1,000 or more in a calendar year to support or oppose state local candidates or ballot measures.

    • Questions?

      Campaign finance reporting and fund-raising laws change frequently, so make sure you understand your requirements.

What All Campaigns Need to Know

  • Disclaimers: Advertising & Mailers

    State regulations require candidate committees to add disclaimers to most advertisements and communications including electronic media. “Paid for by committee name” is the basic disclaimer required by law on most campaign communications sent by a committee (Government Code §84305 et seq; §84501 thru §84511). Information about political advertising, communications and mass mailings can be found on the FPPC’s website and manuals.

  • Political Signs

    Candidates filing with the Elections Department will be asked to complete a Statement Of Understanding / Temporary Political Signs to provide a primary point of contact for any concerns the County may have related to the placement and/or removal of temporary political signs regarding candidate contest.

    Before placing political signs make sure you know the state, county, and municipal rules.

    • County Rules
      • Signs are not allowed in unincorporated areas of Marin County, except on a residence or place of business with owner’s consent. Signs must not be placed more than 90 days prior to, or more than 10 days after an election. (County Code 22.28.060)
      • Signs are not allowed on County owned and maintained public property, right-of-way, medians, or any location that impairs pedestrian and vehicular safety. (County Code 22.28.030)

      To report violations on County unincorporated property please contact the County Department of Public Works at (415) 473-3755.

      To report violations regarding signs on private property contact the County Planning Department at (415) 473-6269 for information about how to file a complaint.

    • Municipal Rules
      Location Contact Phone number
      Belvedere City Clerk 415-435-8913
      Corte Madera Town Clerk 415-927-5085
      Fairfax Principal Planner 415-453-1584
      Larkspur City Clerk 415-927-5002
      Mill Valley City Clerk 415-388-4864
      Novato City Clerk 415-899-8986
      Ross Town Clerk 415-453-1453 x105
      San Anselmo Town Clerk 415-258-4660
      San Rafael Public Works 415-485-3355
      Sausalito City Clerk 415-289-4134
      Tiburon Planning Department 415-435-7390
    • State Rules

      State rules about posting signs on state owned property, contact the Department of Transportation, Outdoor Advertising Program: (916) 654-6473.

  • Political Campaign Videos and Printed Material

    Candidates who wish to film a paid political commercial in or around the Civic Center should contact the Community Development Agency (CDA) 415-473-7875 for details and requirements. (County Code 5.36.010 )

    Candidates may take photographs or videos of themselves filing candidacy paperwork in the Elections Department as long as it does not disrupt business operations, including staff privacy. These photographs and videos cannot be used for solicitation of votes, support, or contributions, but can be used for personal media.

  • Electioneering

    It is a misdemeanor to do any of these things within 100 feet, of the voting location entrance:
    (Election Code § 18370)

    • Pass around petitions.
    • Try to influence how a voter votes.
    • Put up signs about voter qualifications.
    • Talk to voters about their qualifications to vote.
    • Photograph, film, or record a voter going into or leaving a voting location.
  • Registration and Election Data

    Pursuant to Elections Code Sections 2187(g) and 2188, voter registration information is available to candidates for election and campaign purposes.

    Each request to purchase voter registration information must be submitted with identification on applications provided by the Marin County Elections Department.

    Applications, instructions. and pricing can be found on the Purchasing Voter Registration Information page on our website.

    1. Use of this data, including but not limited to using registration information for purposes of communicating with voters, is allowed pursuant to the California Code of Regulations, Title 2, Division 7, Article 1, Section 19003.
    2. Prohibited uses are pursuant to California Elections Code Sections 2194, and includes but not limited to any personal, private, or commercial purpose advertising, solicitation, sale, or marketing of products; or the harassment of any voter or voter’s household.
  • Who should you contact about campaign violations?

    The Marin County Elections Department is NOT an enforcement agency regarding possible election violations. We are unable to investigate any of the violations listed below.

    Listed below are resources to contact regarding suspected election violations:

Election At-A-Glance

The offices up for nominations are Party nominated, Voter nominated, and Non-partisan.

  • How are candidates elected?
    • Party-nominated offices

      President of the United States • County Central Committee Members

      Candidates are chosen by voters of the same party to advance to the November election. The exception are Central Committees whose members are elected by outright majority of votes.

    • Voter-nominated offices - Top Two Primary

      U.S. Senator • U.S. Representative in Congress • California State Assembly Member

      Political parties no longer formally nominate candidates. Voters may vote for any candidate regardless of their party preference.

      Even if one candidate receives the majority of all votes cast (50%+1) the top two candidates who receive the most votes in the March 5th Primary Election, regardless of their political party, will be on the November General Election ballot.

    • Non-partisan offices

      Superior Court Judges • County Supervisors • Special Districts • Municipal Council Members

      County and judicial candidates must receive the majority of all votes cast (50%+1) to win outright. Otherwise, the top two candidates receiving the highest number of votes will be on the General Election ballot in November.

      Special district and municipal council candidates must only receive more votes than the other candidates in order to win outright. A majority of all votes cast is not necessary.

  • When will elected candidates take office?
    • U.S. Representative in Congress and U.S. Senator will take office on January 3, 2025. US Constitution, Article I, § 3; 20th Amend., §1
    • State Assembly Member will take office on December 2, 2024. CA Constitution, Article IV, § 2(a)(3)
    • Superior Court Judges and County Supervisors will take office on January 6, 2025. CA Constitution, Article VI, §16(c); Gov. Code §24200
    • Special District Directors take office at the first meeting of the board following the entry of the statement of the result on the records of the board of supervisors. Health & Safety Code § 6580
    • Municipal Council Members must contact the city/town clerk for information.