Candidate Guide

Lynda Roberts, Registrar of Voters, Elections

Candidate Guide

Presidential Primary Election March 3, 2020

This guide gives you information about candidate forms, fees, requirements, and deadlines for the March 5, 2020 Presidential Primary Election. You can also find more information under the election schedule section on our website.

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 the information 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 3, 2020 Presidential Primary Election Candidate's Guide.


Common Questions

Common Questions & Answers

Important Dates

Important Dates

March 3, 2020 Presidential Primary Election

# of days before
election ↓
September 12 thru
November 6, 2019

Signature-In-Lieu of Filing Fee period
The Signature-In-Lieu filing period deadline applies to all candidate offices required to pay a filing fee.
Elections Code 8061, 8105 & 8106
(excluding municipal offices)
173 - 118
October 28 thru
November 6, 2019

Superior Court offices
Declaration of Intention
All judicial candidates including incumbent judges must file a Declaration of Intention no later than Nov. 6th. Candidates for Superior Court offices must also pay the filing fee when the Declaration of Intention is filed.
Elections Code 8023, 8105(b)
127 - 118
November 7 thru
November 11, 2019*

Superior Court offices
Declaration of Intention extension period
Extension period applies only if an incumbent Superior Court Judge does not file a Declaration of Intention by November 6th. Incumbent judges may not file during this period.
Elections Code 8023(b)
117 - 113
November 11** thru
December 6, 2019

Nomination period for all candidates
** Our office will be closed due to the holiday but will open on the 12th to begin the nomination period.
Period for all candidates and incumbents to file with the Elections Department all required and optional documents or withdraw as a candidate.
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)
113 - 88
December 7 thru
December 16, 2019

Public review of candidate statements
During this period voters can get copies of candidate statements filed for offices closed for nomination; or file a Writ of Mandate in Superior Court.
Elections Code 13313
December 7 thru
December 11, 2019

Extended nomination period begins
The nomination period will remain open if an incumbent does not file by the December 6th deadline.
Incumbents may not file during this period.
December 12 thru
December 21, 2019

Public review of candidate statements
During this period voters can get copies of candidate statements filed for offices with extended nominations or file a Writ of Mandate in Superior Court.
Elections Code 13313
December 12, 2019
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
January 3, 2020
Overseas & Military Ballots
Marin County Elections Department starts mailing ballots to overseas and military voters. 60
January 6 thru
February 18, 2020

Write-in candidates
Write-In Candidates pick up and file your papers at the Marin County Elections Department.
City & Town Council write-in candidates must pick up and file papers with their respective City/Town Clerk’s office.
Elections Code 8601
January 23, 2020
Voter Information Guide Mailing
Marin County Elections Department starts mailing Voter Information Guides to all registered voters in the county. 40
January 23, 2020
Campaign finance
Candidates must file at least 1 campaign finance statement by this date regardless of their level of activity. 40
February 3, 2020
Vote-by-Mail ballots
Marin County Elections Department begins mailing vote-by-mail ballots to all vote-by-mail voters in the county. Any Marin County voter may pick-up a vote-by-mail ballot at the Elections Department starting this date. 29
February 17, 2020 *
Voter Registration deadline
Exception as noted
This is the last day to register to vote for this election. If voters miss the registration deadline for this election, they must come into the Elections Department to register and vote on the same day beginning February 18, 2020. 15
February 20, 2020
Campaign finance
Candidates who have campaign finance committees must report all financial activity from the date of their last statement through 2/15/20. 12
March 3, 2020
Election Day
Marin County Elections Department and the polls are open 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. 0
Date to be determined
Manual Tally
At 9 a.m., Marin County Elections Department randomly selects 1% of the precincts to count votes by hand (manual tally) TBD
April 2, 2020
Election certification
The deadline for the Marin County Elections Department to certify the county’s election results.
Elections Code 15372

*Date falls on a holiday. Our office will be closed until the next business day.

Offices Open

Offices Scheduled for Nomination

  • Offices Scheduled
    • The offices open for nomination are known as party nominated, voter nominated, and nonpartisan
    • Party-nominated offices
      President of the United States • County Central Committee Members
    • Voter-nominated offices
      U.S. Representative in Congress • California State Assembly Member
      Political parties may endorse, support, or oppose candidates for these offices but they can no longer formally nominate candidates. Voters can vote for any candidate regardless of their party preference.
    • Non-partisan offices
      Superior Court Judges • County Supervisors • Special Districts • Municipal Council Members
    • 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 has received written requests to conduct central committee elections. The nomination period for committee candidates will begin September 27th. The necessary documents and instructions will be provided during that period.
    • Voter Nominated Offices
      • U. S. Representative in Congress, District 2
        • Qualifications: U.S. Citizen for at least seven years, 25 years of age, resident of this state when he or she takes office. (Note: There are no district specific residency requirements for Members of Congress.) (U.S. Const., Art. I, § 2; 20th Amend., § 1)
      • California State Assembly, District 10
        • 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. (Cal. Const., art. IV, § 2 (a)(4) and § 2 (c))
    • Superior Court Judge
      • Qualifications: Member of the State Bar or judge of a court of record in California for the preceding 10 years (U.S. Const., Art. I, § 2; 20th Amend., § 1). Candidates shall complete all necessary nomination documents and shall provide documentation to the Marin County Elections Department to sufficiently establish qualification.
        • Office No. 1 – Judge Verna Adams
        • Office No. 2 – Judge Mark Talamantes
        • Office No. 3 – Judge Beverly Wood
      • 6 Year Term
      • Filing Fee - $2,138.33
      • Value/Signature - $.33 (6,480 total signatures)
      • Sponsor Signatures – 20 to 40
    • 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. (Govt. Code §25041)
        • District 2 - Katie Rice
        • District 3 - Kate Sears
        • District 4 – Dennis Rodoni
      • 4 Year Term
      • Filing Fee - $1,238.64
      • Value/Signature - $.33 (3,754 total signatures)
      • Sponsor Signatures – 20 to 40
    • Special Districts
      • Qualifications: Candidate must reside and be a registered voter in the district. Any additional qualifications are determined by the principal act of the district.
        • Almonte Sanitary Directors - Three full-term seats
        • Sanitary Dist. No. 1 Directors - Two full-term seats
      • 4 Year Term
      • Sponsor Signatures not required
    • Municipal Council Members
      • 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.
      • Refer to Government Code Section 34882 for the qualifications to run for this office. A minimum of 20 sponsor signatures are required for towns/cities. (EC § 10220)
        • City of Mill Valley Councilmembers - Three full-term seats
        • Town of Corte Madera Councilmembers - Two full-term seats
        • Town of Ross Councilmembers - Three full-term seats
  • Insufficient number of candidates
    • 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)
    • Superior Court Judge
      • If the incumbent is the only candidate to file nomination papers for that office:
        • his/her 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. The petition must contain at least 100 signatures but no more than 600 signatures.
        • his/her name shall not appear on the general 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 not less than 83 days before the general election. The petition must contain at least 100 signatures but no more than 600 signatures. (EC § 8203)
    • Municipal elections
      • If the number of candidates is less than the number of offices to be filled, the governing body of the city may adopt (Elections Code § 10229) 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
  • 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. Elections Code Section 13109 specifies the order of offices on the ballot.
    • Randomized 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 pull 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 will determine 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

  • 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 email instructions and due dates, along with most of your candidate documents.
    • 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.
    • We will provide most of the documents you’ll need. If you cannot pick up your nomination papers you may have an authorized person with signed authorization receive your papers for you. Descriptions of each are on the following pages.
  • Petition - Signatures in Lieu of Filing Fee
    • 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. Pages 5 and 6 lists filing fees and the value of each signature needed to offset those fees. This filing period begins September 12 through November 6, 2019.
    • 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.
  • Petition - Nomination Signatures
    • If you are a candidate for county, city, federal, state, or judicial office you must file nomination petitions with the minimum number of valid sponsor signatures. Those signing your nomination papers must be a registered voter regardless of their political party, 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.
      • 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.
      • You can use any of the qualified signatures from your ‘signature in lieu’ petition for your nomination signatures.
      • A candidate may sign his/her own petition.
      • A registered voter can sign multiple candidate petitions; however, a registered voter cannot sign for more candidates than the number of positions available for nomination.
  • 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 28 through November 6, 2019.
      • 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 by the Nov. 6th deadline, anyone other than the incumbent may file a Declaration of Intention by Nov. 12th.
      • If an incumbent of a judicial office has filed a declaration of intention but fails to file nomination papers by Dec. 6th, the nomination period will extend to Dec. 11th. 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.
  • Declaration of Candidacy Form
    • The Declaration of Candidacy form must be completed in the office of the elections official or signed and witnessed by a registered Notary Public and filed in the office of the elections official with all other required documents by the closing date 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. (E.C. §8003(b), §10510(b), §10220.5)
    • Voter Nominated Offices: state legislative offices, and U.S. federal offices. You must indicate on your Declaration of Candidacy whether or not you want your party preference to be printed next to your name on the ballot. If you list a party preference, that party will be printed after your name on the ballot. If you do not list a party preference, the words "Party Preference: None" will be printed after your name on the ballot. (E.C. §8002.5)
      • If you choose to put your party preference on the Declaration of Candidacy, you must be registered to vote in that party.
      • 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:
      • 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. (EC §13106)
  • Ballot Designation Requirements (if requesting a 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. You must also complete a Ballot Designation Worksheet, but if you do not choose a designation then the worksheet is not required. 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.”
    • General Rules
      • 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 are limited to 3 wordsand you must separate them with a slash: Professor/Mother/Doctor. 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 (E.C. §13107.3; Admin. Code §20710 thru §20719) and file it with your candidate papers by the deadline.
      • California state law requires that your designation must describe 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 (E.C. §13107). The following page lists specific rules for certain designations and candidates.
    • Some words are not allowed
      • Do not use words that
        • Evaluate
          • Examples: Outstanding, leading, expert, virtuous, eminent, best, exalted, prominent, advocate, activist, reformer, pro, anti
        • Suggest status and not your occupation
          • Examples: Taxpayer, patriot, citizen, renter, presidential appointee, husband, wife, scholar, veteran, concerned citizen, activist
        • Suggest a religious or ethnic group
          • Examples: Asian, Christian, Irish
        • Suggest a political party or ideology
          • Examples: Conservative, Democrat, Republican, Socialism, Absolutism
        • Pro Forma positions or vocations
          • Examples: honorary, hostess, goodwill ambassador (see CA Admin. Code 20716)
        • Suggest previous occupations
          • Examples: Former, ex (You may use retired. See Rules for specific types of ballot designations and candidates below.)
        • Name a company, agency or person
          • Examples: Instead of: IBM President, use: Computer Corporation President
            Instead of: Director, DMV, use: State Agency Director
        • Mislead
          • 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.
    • Request for supporting documents
      • Candidates are responsible for establishing accuracy and compliance within 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. (Admin. Code §20717)
    • Rejection of ballot designations
      • The elections official may reject a candidate’s ballot designation based on restrictions 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. If you do not provide an acceptable alternative designation by the deadline, no ballot designation will be listed after your name. (E.C. §13107(f))
    • Rules for specific types of ballot designations and candidates
      • You may use the words community volunteer (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 (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.
      • 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’re filing 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) (no other words allowed) if you are running for the same office you hold now. Judicial candidates having been appointed to a judicial seat are not required to use this designation and can use Incumbent instead.
        • The word Appointed along 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 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.
        • Designations “Attorney” and “Lawyer” may be used in combination with one other designation held currently or within the previous calendar year (Attorney/Website Developer).
    • Candidate Statement rules & formatting
      • General Information
        • You have the option to file a 200-word candidate statement to be printed in the Marin County Voter Information Guide. Congressional, State Senate & Assembly candidates are allowed 250 words.
          • File your statement no later than 5 p.m., December 6th. If you are running for an office with an extended nomination period, the deadline is 5 p.m., December 11th.
          • Payment for your statement 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 because you’re not allowed to correct typos or mistakes after filing. We strongly advise having 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 only 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.
          • Candidate statements should be submitted in electronic version, preferably in Word or the provided PDF template. Candidates filing only a paper version statement will be charged an additional $100 typesetting fee.
      • 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 (EC §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’m 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 letter 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 not allowed
          • 200 words maximum based on rules specified in Elections Code §9.
          • Word count begins after “Education and Qualifications” on a Candidate Statement
        • Greatest City
        • JANE DOE                                                                    AGE: 35
        • Occupation: Manager
        • Education and Qualifications:
        • 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./li>
        • 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.
        • Your name must match your name on the ballot. Variations are not allowed.
        • Age and occupation are optional.
        • Occupation must 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.
      • Candidate Statement Fees
        • All candidates must pay a fee to have their statement printed in the Marin County Voter Information Guide. If you want your statement translated into Spanish, the cost is doubled plus a translation fee. The fees are based on typesetting, printing, mailing expenses, and the number of registered voters in specified areas based on the Oct. 1, 2019 report to the Secretary of State.
        • County Board of Supervisors
          • District 2
            • Number of Jurisdiction Voters, 36,151
            • Statement printed in English only, $420
            • Statement printed in English and Spanish, $940
          • District 3
            • Number of Jurisdiction Voters, 36,169
            • Statement printed in English only, $420
            • Statement printed in English and Spanish, $940
          • District 4
            • Number of Jurisdiction Voters, 26,123
            • Statement printed in English only, $345
            • Statement printed in English and Spanish, $790
        • County-wide Contests
          • State Assembly and Congressional
            • Number of Jurisdiction Voters, 163,018
            • Statement printed in English only, $1,370
            • Statement printed in English and Spanish, $2,840
        • Special Districts
          • Almonte Sanitary District
            • Number of Jurisdiction Voters, 1,201
            • Statement printed in English only, $160
            • Statement printed in English and Spanish, $420
          • Ross Valley Sanitary Dist. #1
            • Number of Jurisdiction Voters, 32,214
            • Statement printed in English only, $390
            • Statement printed in English and Spanish, $880
        • City/Town Councils
          • City of Mill Valley
            • Number of Jurisdiction Voters, 10,264
            • Statement printed in English only, $225
            • Statement printed in English and Spanish, $550
          • Town of Corte Madera
            • Number of Jurisdiction Voters, 6,717
            • Statement printed in English only, $200
            • Statement printed in English and Spanish, $500
          • Town of Ross
            • Number of Jurisdiction Voters, 1,618
            • Statement printed in English only, $160
            • Statement printed in English and Spanish, $420
      • State Offices and Voluntary Expenditure Ceilings
        • State Assembly candidates who want to purchase space for a 250-word statement in the Marin County Voter Information Guide must accept the voluntary expenditure limits listed below by filing the Form 501 (Candidate Statement of Intention) with the Secretary of State. (Government Code §85601)
          • Primary Election $564,000
          • General Election $987,000
    • 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
      • For more information go to the Fair Political Practices Commission website: 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.
        • 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.
      • State Offices
        • If you’re 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 Ceilings for State Candidates during the Primary election.
        • The amounts vary by office and may differ for the June and November elections. See the Candidate Statement Fees Section under the Candidate Statement rules & formatting section of this page to find out what the limits are. You must file the Candidate Intention Statement (Form 501) to accept the voluntary expenditure ceiling established for each election.
      • Reporting Deadlines for Local Candidates
        • Period reported thru – December 31, 2019
          • Deadline January 31, 2020, form 460 Semi-Annual
        • Period reported January 1, 2020 – January 18, 2020
          • Deadline January 23, 2020, form 460 Pre-election (1st)
        • Period reported January 19, 2020 – February 15, 2020
          • Deadline February 20, 2020, form 460 Pre-election (2nd)
        • Period reported December 4, 2019 – March 3, 2020
          • Deadline within 24 hours, form 497 Late Contribution Report ($1000 or more in aggregate from a single source)
        • Period reported February 16, 2020 – June 30, 2020
          • Deadline July 31, 2020, 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 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’s 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.
      • 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 $2000 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 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.
        • 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:

What All Campaigns Need to Know

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
      • 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
        • 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.
        • Signs are not allowed on County owned and maintained public property, right-ofway, medians, or any location that impairs pedestrian and vehicular safety. County Code 22.28.030
        • To report violations please contact the County Department of Public Works at 415-473-3755.
      • Municipal Rules
        • Contact information for municipal rules about posting signs within city/town limits are listed below.
          • 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, 415-899-8900
          • 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
    • 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. 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 to be used for campaign purposes.
    • Electioneering
      • It is a misdemeanor to do any of these things within 100 feet, of the poll 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.
    • Registration and Election Data
      • Pursuant to Elections Code Sections 2187(g) and 2188, voter registration information is available to candidates for election & campaign purposes.
        Each request to purchase voter registration information must be submitted with identification on applications provided by the Marin County Elections Department. The 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.

Information about Taking Office

Information about taking office

  • How are candidates elected
    • Party-nominated offices
      • 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
      • 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 3rd Primary Election, regardless of their political party, will be on the General Election ballot in November. (Elections Code §8141.5)
    • Non-partisan offices
      • 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
    • No matter if you’re elected in March or November, the ‘swearing in’ dates are as follows:
      • Federal Offices: President & Representative in Congress will take office on January 3, 2021. (US Constitution, Article I, §3, 20th Amend., §1)
      • State Assembly Member will take office on December 7, 2020. (CA Constitution, Article IV, §2(a)(3))
      • Superior Court Judges & County Supervisors will take office on January 6, 2021. (CA Constitution, Article VI, §16(c); Gov’t Code §24200)
      • District Director nominees 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 §6580.1)
      • Municipal nominees must contact the town/city clerk for information.

How to Count Words

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.

Items counted as 1 word: Examples
Symbols and numerals with symbols 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
Numbers and phone numbers 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; and official names of jurisdictions and districts.
New Jersey, County of Marin, Marin General Hospital,
Tamalpais Union High School District, 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,
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 ? “ ” !
We do not count any part of the “Occupation” section, or the words “Education and Qualifications” on a Candidate Statement.