Candidate Guide

Lynda Roberts, Registrar of Voters, Elections

Candidate Guide

Local District Elections November 7, 2017

This guide gives you information about candidate forms, fees, requirements, and deadlines for the November 7, Local District Elections. You can find more election information under the election schedule section on our website.

The nomination process can be complicated and the filing deadlines are rigid. It’s 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 the information in this guide, please call Dan Miller at 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.


Common Questions

Common Questions & Answers

Important Dates

Important Dates

# of days before
election ↓
July 17, 2017
Nomination period opens for all candidates
113 Candidates must pick up nomination documents at the Marin County Elections Department.
City and Town Council candidates must pick up and file nomination documents at their City/Town Clerk’s office.(Some cities charge a filing fee.)
August 11, 2017
Nomination period closes
88 Deadline for all candidates and incumbents to:
  • File all required and optional documents, or withdraw as a candidate
Aug 12 thru Aug 21, 2017
Public review of candidate statements
87-78 During this period, voters can:
  • Get copies of any candidate statement, and
  • File a Writ of Mandate in Superior Court.
Aug 12 thru Aug 16, 2017
Extended nomination period begins
87-83 This nomination period will open if an incumbent does not file by the August 11th deadline. Incumbents may not file during this period.
Aug 17 thru Aug 26, 2017
Public review of candidate statements filed in extended nomination period
82-73 During this period, voters can:
  • Get copies of any candidate statement, and
  • File a Writ of Mandate in Superior Court.
August 17, 2017
Random alphabet drawing
82 The Secretary of State and the Registrar of Voters conduct random drawings to decide the order of candidate names on the ballot.
September 8, 2017
Overseas & Military Ballots
60 Marin County Elections Department starts mailing ballots to overseas and military voters.
Sept 11 thru Oct 24, 2017
Write-in candidates
57-14 Write-In Candidates pick up and file your papers at the Marin County Election Department.
City & Town Council write-in candidates must pick up and file papers with their respective City/Town Clerk’s office.
September 28, 2017
Voter Information Guide Mailing
40 Marin County Elections Department starts mailing County Voter Information Guides to all registered voters in the county.
September 28, 2017
Campaign finance
40 Candidates must file at least 1 campaign finance statement by this date regardless of their level of activity.
October 9, 2017
Vote-by-Mail ballots
29 Marin County Elections Department starts mailing vote-by-mail ballots to all vote-by-mail voters in the county. Any Marin County voter may apply for a ballot and vote at the Elections Department starting this date.
October 23, 2017
Last day to mail voter registration form
15 This is the last day a voter can mail in a registration form to vote in this election. Voter registration forms received by mail must be postmarked by this date.
Oct 24 thru Nov 7, 2017
Can register and vote only in Elections Office
14-0 If the voter missed the registration deadline for this election, they can come into the Election Office to register and vote on the same day.
October 26, 2017
Campaign finance
12 Candidates who have campaign finance committees must report all financial activity from the date of their last statement through 10/21/17.
October 31, 2017
Deadline to apply for vote-by-mail ballots by mail
7 This is the last day that voters can apply for a vote-by-mail ballot by U.S. Mail or fax. Voters who miss this deadline can pick up a vote-by-mail ballot at the Elections Department until 8 pm, November 7, 2017.
November 7, 2017
Election Day
0 Marin County Elections Department and the polls are open 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.
To be determined
Manual Tally
TBD At 9 a.m., Marin County Elections Department randomly selects 1% of the precincts to count votes by hand (manual tally).
December 7, 2017
Election certification
+30 The deadline for the Marin County Elections Department to certify the county’s election results.

Offices Scheduled

Offices Scheduled for Nomination

  • Offices Scheduled
    • Candidates must reside and be registered to vote in the jurisdiction they’re applying for, and meet all other state law and constitutional requirements. (Education Code §35107 & Gov’t Code §24001)
    • Special Districts
      • Seats listed below as full-term are 4-year periods. A short-term seat, due to the vacancy of a previously seated incumbent, shall last no longer than 2-years.
      • Marin City Community Services District, Director
        • Three full term seats
      • Muir Beach Community Services District, Director
        • Three full term seats
      • Tomales Community Services District, Director
        • Three full term seats
      • Sleepy Hollow Fire Protection District, Director
        • One full term seat and One short term seat
    • School Districts
      • Laguna Joint School District, Trustee
        • Two seats, four year terms
      • Lincoln School District, Trustee
        • Two seats, four year terms
    • Municipalities
      • Some Municipalities have chosen to move their general election to the even years per SB415. Elections Code allows municipalities to either increase or decrease terms of office until their 4-year term cycle can be reestablished.
      • Town of Fairfax, Town Council Member
        • Three seats, Three year terms
      • City of Larkspur, City Council Member
        • Three seats, Five year terms
      • City of Novato, City Council Member
        • Two seats, Five year terms
      • Town of San Anselmo, Town Council Member
        • Three seats, Three year terms
      • City of San Rafael, City Council Member
        • Two seats, Five year terms
      • Town of Tiburon - Special Election, Town Council Member
        • Two seats open due to vacancy, Three year terms
      • City of Sausalito - Special Election, City Council Member
        • One seat open due to vacancy, One year term
      • Candidates must contact the city or town clerk regarding filing fees, and must file nomination papers, declaration papers, and all campaign finance reports with their respective City or Town Clerk.
        A minimum of 20 sponsor signatures are required for towns/cities. (EC §10220)
  • Insufficient Nominees
    • Special Districts
      • If the number of candidates is equal to the number of offices to be filled within a specific district, the Registrar of Voters will request the Board of Supervisors to appoint in lieu of an election the candidates who have filed nomination papers. If the number of candidates is less than the number of offices to be filled, the Board of Supervisors will appoint any qualified person(s) who will then serve exactly as if elected. (Elections Code § 10515)
    • Municipal elections
      • If the number of candidates is less than the number of offices to be filled, the governing body of the city/town may adopt one of the following courses of action:
      • Appoint those persons having filed nomination papers before the deadline,
      • Appoint an eligible person who had not filed before the deadline,
      • Hold the election
      • (Elections Code § 10229)
  • Placement of names on the ballot
    • The order in which candidates’ names shall be placed on the ballot is specified in Elections Code Sections 13111 and 13112. Election Code Section 13109 specifies the order of offices on the ballot.
    • Secretary of State Random Alphabet Drawing
      • 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 pulls each letter of the alphabet at random according to the procedure specified in Elections Code Section 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 determines name placement for all contests except that the Marin County Registrar of Voters draws for multi-county offices such as State Senator or State Assembly.

Candidate Nomination Papers

Candidate Nomination Papers

Nomination period July 17 thru August 11, 2017,
Extended period August 12 thru August 16, 2017

All documents must be filed at the same time. Candidates may not file 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)

Our office will provide the following forms:

  • Candidate Application Form
    • Before you receive any nomination documents from the Elections Department you must complete and file the Candidate Application Form, either in person or using our web document. If using our web document, we will prepare and email most of your nomination papers along with instructions and due dates.
  • Nomination Petition/Sponsor signatures
    • Candidates for certain offices must file nomination petitions with the required minimum number of valid sponsor signatures. Those signing your nomination papers must be a registered voter and eligible to vote in your contest. Each signer will provide his/her printed name, signature, residence address, city, on the petition, and sign in the presence of the candidate or circulator.
    • Other important things to know
      • 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 his/her own petition.
      • A candidate may serve as the circulator to collect signatures.
      • Anyone 18 years or older, regardless of their state of residence, can circulate nominating papers for signatures.
      • A registered voter can sign multiple candidate petitions however not more than the amount of candidate positions available for nomination.
  • Declaration of Candidacy Form
    • This form must be completed in the office of the elections official or signed and witnessed by a registered Notary Public.
      • If you cannot come in person to receive this form you may have an authorized person pick up your form with signed authorization.
        • The authorization must state the name of the authorized person, and a statement from the candidate acknowledging awareness that the form must be properly executed and delivered to the elections official by the deadline.
        • The authorized person may not change or correct anything on your nomination papers.
      • This form cannot be emailed unless the candidate first acknowledges awareness that the form must be properly executed and delivered to the elections official by the deadline.
    • Name on Ballot
      • You can write your nickname, along with your legal name on your form. If you do not write your nickname on the Declaration of Candidacy form, you cannot use it later on other candidate papers. (A.G. Ops 50-87, 5/27/80)
      • Titles and degrees cannot be listed with the candidate’s name on the ballot.
  • Ballot Designation Requirements (if requesting a designation)
    • General Rules
      • The Ballot Designation goes under your name on the ballot, and refers to your current occupation or incumbency status. You are allowed up to 3 words. If you want a ballot designation, you must fill out a Ballot Designation Worksheet (E.C. §§ 13107.3; CA Admin. Code – §§ 20710-20719) and file it with the rest of your candidate papers by the deadline.
      • If you do not want a designation, write “NONE” on your Declaration of Candidacy form where it asks for your designation. Also put your initials after the word “NONE.”
      • California state law says that your designation must describe your current profession, vocation, or what you do – or did – for a living during the 12 months before the filing deadline. The words you choose must be generic and neutral. And the words must be accurate, and not misleading. (E.C. §§ 13107)
      • Here are some examples: High School Teacher, Scientist, Emergency Department Neurologist.
      • You may list more than one occupation or vocation, but you are limited to 3 words and you must separate them with a slash. Example: Professor/Mother/Doctor
      • Note: If you choose words that are very long, they may be printed in a smaller font size.
    • Other ballot designation rules
      • You may use the words community volunteer (CA Admin. Code – §§ 20714.5) if:
        • You’re 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 (CA Admin. Code – §§ 20716(h)(1)) if:
        • 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’ve had more recent professions, occupations, or vocations.
        • Note: You must not abbreviate retired or place it after the word(s) it modifies.
      • Do not use words that Evaluate, some examples:
        • Outstanding, leading, expert, virtuous, eminent, best, exalted, prominent, advocate, activist, reformer, pro, anti
      • Do not use words that Suggest status and do not say your occupation, some examples:
        • Taxpayer, patriot, citizen, renter, presidential appointee, husband, wife, scholar, veteran, concerned citizen, activist
      • Do not use words that Suggest a racial, religious or ethnic group, some examples:
        • Asian, Christian, Irish
      • Do not use words that Suggest a political party, some examples:
        • Libertarian, Democrat
      • Do not use words that Refer to illegal activity, some examples:
        • Outlaw, gambler
      • Do not use words that Suggest previous occupations, some examples:
        • Former, ex
        • You may use retired. (See above)
      • Do not use words that Name a company, agency or person, some examples:
        • Instead of: IBM President, use: Computer Corporation President
        • Instead of: Director, DMV, use: State Agency Director
      • Do not use words that Mislead, some examples:
        • 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.
    • Special rules for incumbents and appointed incumbents:
      • 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 (without adding any other words) if you are running for the same office you hold now.
      • If you are an appointed incumbent you may use:
        • The words Appointed Incumbent (without adding any other words) if you are running for the same office you hold now.
        • The word Appointed along with your current elected position and the jurisdiction.
          • Example: Appointed Board Member, ABC School District
        • The word Appointed along with your current elected position and another designation.
          • Example: Appointed Trustee/Mother
        • Judicial candidates that were appointed to a judicial seat are not required to use Appointed, and can use Incumbent instead.
    • Request for supporting documents:
      • Candidates are responsible for establishing accuracy and compliance with all provisions of the Elections Code. The Elections Department or Secretary of State may request supporting documentation or evidence supporting a candidate’s proposed ballot designation. (CA Admin. Code – §§ 20717)
    • Some words are not allowed
      • If you choose words that the law does not allow, the Elections Department will notify you. If you do not provide an acceptable alternative designation by the deadline, no ballot designation will be listed after your name.
    • Rejection of ballot designations:
      • The elections official may reject a candidate’s ballot designation due to any violation of the parameters stated in the Elections Code. The Secretary of State’s office administers rules and procedures for state and federal candidates. Candidates are given an opportunity to make a correction within the timeframe allowed by law. (E.C. §§ 13107(c))
  • Candidate Statements (optional to file)
    • General Information
      • You have the option to file a 200 word candidate statement to be printed in the Marin County Voter Information Guide.
      • Print your statement on a separate piece of paper and attach it to the Candidate Statement form provided with your other candidate papers. You must sign your statement.
      • File your statement along with your other candidate papers by 5 p.m. on August 11th. If you are running for an office with an extended nomination period, the deadline is 5 p.m. on August 16th.
      • If the office you are running for covers more than one county, you have the option to print your statement in both counties. To do that, you must file and pay for your statement in each county separately, and follow both counties’ procedures.
      • Review your statement carefully because you’re not allowed to correct typos or mistakes after filing it. It’s a good idea to have another person proofread your statement with you.
      • If you want to change your statement after you file, your only option is to withdraw as a candidate, and completely re-file as a candidate.
      • The deadline to withdraw your statement is by the close of business of the next working day after the close of the nomination period. You’ll be refunded the cost of the statement.
      • We require all candidate statements to be filed electronically in Word version. If you cannot provide an e-version of your statement, you will be charged a $100 retyping fee.
    • Content requirements
      • Your candidate statement can include information about your education, experience and other qualifications. It shall not include information about or in any way make reference to, any other candidate, party affiliations, or memberships and activities in any political party organizations (EC §13307(a); §13308). If your statement does not comply, the Elections Department will require changes.
    • 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 highlights
      • No clusters of exclamation points
      • No bullets or numbered lists (we will replace with semicolons and wrap text)
      • Indents are not allowed
      • 200 words maximum
      • Word count begins after “Education and Qualifications” on a Candidate Statement.
      • Greatest City
      • JANE DOE                                                                    AGE: 21
      • Occupation: Manager
      • 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.
      • On the other hand, having been in business since my undergraduate days at college, and 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.
      • Please remember, because your statement must fit in a quarter page area we may need to adjust the format and spacing of your statement.
    • Candidate Statement Fees
      • Listed below are the costs of the candidate statements printed in the County Voter Information Guide. If you want your statement translated into Spanish, your fee is doubled and a translation fee is added. The fees are based on typesetting, printing, mailing expenses, and the number of registered voters in specific districts based on the last report to the Secretary of State prior to printing this manual.
      • Special Districts
        • Marin City Community Services District
          • Number of registered voters, 1,464*
          • Statement printed in English only, $159
          • Statement printed in English and Spanish, $418
        • Muir Beach Community Services District
          • Number of registered voters, 294*
          • Statement printed in English only, $150
          • Statement printed in English and Spanish, $400
        • Tomales Community Services District
          • Number of registered voters, 118*
          • Statement printed in English only, $149
          • Statement printed in English and Spanish, $398
        • Sleepy Hollow Fire Protection District
          • Number of registered voters, 1,687*
          • Statement printed in English only, $161
          • Statement printed in English and Spanish, $422
        • * The number of registered voters as shown on the district report printed June 19, 2017 (pdmr027).
      • City/Town Councils
        • Town of Fairfax
          • Number of registered voters, 5,42*
          • Statement printed in English only, $189
          • Statement printed in English and Spanish, $478
        • City of Larkspur
          • Number of registered voters, 8,523*
          • Statement printed in English only, $212
          • Statement printed in English and Spanish, $524
        • City of Novato
          • Number of registered voters, 30,265*
          • Statement printed in English only, $375
          • Statement printed in English and Spanish, $850
        • Town of San Anselmo
          • Number of registered voters, 8,668*
          • Statement printed in English only, $213
          • Statement printed in English and Spanish, $526
        • City of San Rafael
          • Number of registered voters, 30,021*
          • Statement printed in English only, $373
          • Statement printed in English and Spanish, $846
        • City of Sausalito
          • Number of registered voters, 5,213*
          • Statement printed in English only, $187
          • Statement printed in English and Spanish, $474
        • Town of Tiburon
          • Number of registered voters, 6,010*
          • Statement printed in English only, $193
          • Statement printed in English and Spanish, $486
        • * The number of registered voters as shown on the district report printed June 19, 2017 (pdmr027).
      • School Districts
        • Laguna Joint School District
          • Number of registered voters, 106*
          • Statement printed in English only, $149
          • Statement printed in English and Spanish, $398
        • Lincoln School District
          • Number of registered voters, 168*
          • Statement printed in English only, $149
          • Statement printed in English and Spanish, $398
        • * The number of registered voters as shown on the district report printed June 19, 2017 (pdmr027).
  • Statement of Economic Interests, Form 700
    • The Political Reform Act requires candidates and most state and local government officials and employees to publicly disclose their personal assets and income. They must also disqualify themselves from participating in decisions that may affect their personal economic interests.
    • You must disclose your personal assets and income on the Form 700 (a public document) and file it with your other candidate papers.
    • 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. The form and instructions are on our website, and the Fair Political Practices website.
  • Campaign Finance Statements
    • 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.
      • Not all Marin County cities and districts have the same campaign contribution limits. To know the limits for your office, contact the local official.
      • Important! Your campaign finance reporting requirements do not end with the election. Be prepared to continuously file reports until you close your committee.
    • Reporting Deadlines for Local Candidates
      • Period reported thru – June 30
        • Deadline July 31, 2017, form 460 Semi-Annual
      • Period reported July 1 – Sept. 23
        • Deadline Sept. 28, 2017, form 460 Pre-election
      • Period reported Sept. 24 – Oct. 21
        • Deadline Oct. 26, 2017, form 460 Pre-election
      • Period reported August 9 – November 7
        • Deadline within 24 hours, form 497 Late Contribution Report (for $1000 or more from a single source)
      • Period reported Oct. 22 – Dec. 31
        • Deadline January 31, 2018, form 460 Semi-Annual
      • E-filing! Local Candidate finance statements can be e-filed. It’s free, saves time, and you won’t have to provide signatures or hard copies. For more information contact the Elections Department at 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 to candidates and committees 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 he finds that the late filing was not intentional and/or the report was filed before the waiver of liability period ends.
    • Reporting Violations
      • Individuals living in affected jurisdiction may file an action or ask for an injunction if a committee or candidate has violated any campaign disclosure requirement. (Government Code § 91003)
      • Marin County Elections Department will not investigate or prosecute violations, except for civil actions to collect fines owed.
    • Candidate 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 $1000 threshold is achieved, candidates must file the Form 470 Supplement, and establish a campaign committee. Please refer to FPPC 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 FPPC 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 FPPC Manual 2 for more information.
      • Form 497 – Late Contribution Report
        • A Form 497 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.
    • Questions?
      • Campaign finance reporting and fund-raising laws change frequently, so make sure you understand your requirements. You can find more information and manuals at the Fair Political Practices website.
      • If you are a local candidate, see the FPPC Manual 2 or contact:
        • Email - Dan Miller
        • Tel. 415-473-6437 – Fax: 415-473-6447
      • Candidates for state offices may consult the FPPC Manual 1 or contact:
        • Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC)
          • 428 J Street, Suite 620, Sacramento, CA 95814
          • Tel. 866-275-3772, or
        • Secretary of State, Political Reform Division
      • Candidates for federal offices must contact:
        • Federal Election Commission:

What All Campaigns Need to Know

What All Campaigns Need to Know

    • Advertising & Mailers– disclaimers required
      • 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
      • Before placing any political sign, make sure you understand state, county, and municipal rules.
      • County Rules
        • County rules about posting signs in unincorporated areas of the county:
        • County Code 22.60.030: “One sign not exceeding 12 square feet located by an individual on their own residence or place of business or on some part of the property provided the sign is displayed not more than 45 days prior to, or more than ten days after, the conclusion of the political campaign to which it relates.” For violations of this ordinance, contact the County Planning Department at 415-473-6269 for information about how to file a complaint.
      • Municipal Rules
        • Contact information for municipal rules about posting signs within city/town limits are listed below.
          • Belvedere
            • City Clerk, 415-435-8908
          • Corte Madera
            • Planning Director, 415-927-5064
          • Fairfax
            • Senior Planner, 415-453-1584
          • Larkspur
            • City Clerk, 415-927-5110
          • Mill Valley
            • Deputy City Clerk, 415-388-4033, ext. 102
          • Novato
            • City Clerk, 415-899-8900
          • Ross
            • Town Clerk, 415-453-1453
          • San Anselmo
            • Town Clerk, 415-258-4652
          • San Rafael
            • Public Works, 415-485-3355
          • Sausalito
            • City Clerk, 415-289-4100
          • Tiburon
            • Planning Department, 415-435-7390
      • State Rules
    • Electioneering
      • It is a misdemeanor to do any of these things within 100 feet, of the polling place entrance (E.C. § 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 as s/he goes into or leaves a polling place.
    • 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) by calling 415-473-6269 or 415-473-7875 to ask about permit requirements. The CDA administration office is located in Room 423 of the Civic Center (3501 Civic Center Drive). Still photographs for printed campaign materials may be taken so long as the photographs are not used in a way that would compromise confidentiality or business operations. In order to best assure strict neutrality and uphold the integrity of the elections process, under no circumstances are candidates allowed to film or photograph near the Elections Department.

Information about Taking Office

Information about taking office

The Elections Department will prepare and send the Certificate of Election and Oath of Office to each newly elected Special District and School District candidate. The City/Town Clerk will provide the Certificate and the Oath to their newly elected candidates.

When does an elected official take office?

  • Special District nominees elected take office on December 1, 2017.
    (Elections Code § 10554)
  • City/Town Councilmembers will take office at the next regularly scheduled council meeting after the results of the election are certified.
    (Elections Code § 10263(b))

How to Count Words

How to Count Words

Candidate statements and ballot measure-related text are limited to a certain number of words. The rules below explain how we count words. These rules are based on California law, and cannot be changed. Before you file your material, count the words carefully. If you have too many words, we will ask you to revise your text.

Items counted as 1 word: Examples
Symbols/numerals that form a single word & # %100s $1000 10¢ 12th
Abbreviations & acronyms Dist., UCLA, U.S.M.C., FYI
All dates in any form 7/21/89, or July 4, 1776
Numerals only including phone numbers 0, 12, 1,000,000, 415-473-6456
Website & e-mail addresses,
Proper nouns usually beginning with capital letters: includes the names of people, places, and certain things. New Jersey, County of Marin, Marin General Hospital, Bob Hope, U. S. Congress, Internet Explorer
Hyphenated words listed in a standard U.S. dictionary Attorney-at-law, ex-president
Items NOT counted as 1 word: Examples
Numbers written as words one hundred
Groups of common nouns not definable as proper nouns
Items NOT counted: Examples
Punctuation marks ? “ ” !