10 Things You Need to Know to Declare Your Campaign

  1. Make sure you are qualified for the office that you seek. Contact the relevant governing agency to find out the candidate and officeholder requirements. Are there residency requirements? Are you currently registered to vote in the jurisdiction? Ask the San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division to confirm this and, if not, get registered!
  2. Get informed. The San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division provides resources for potential candidates including a Candidate Guide and seminars for potential candidates.
    1. It is also important to know your Election Official. For school and special district candidates, the San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division is the Election Official. For city candidates, the City Clerk is the Election Official.
  3. Contact the San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division and notify the Filing Officer that you are a potential candidate (city candidates contact the City Clerk). Make an appointment to declare your candidacy. Forms cannot be mailed to you. The Candidate Filing Period for regularly scheduled elections opens 113 days before Election Day and closes 88 days before Election Day.
  4. Don’t wait until the last minute to file your documents! If there is a problem, you may not be able to fix it in time. Call 650.312.5222 to schedule an appointment during the filing period. The San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division does not schedule appointments for the last day of the filing period.
  5. Some offices require nomination petitions to be filed in order to qualify for the ballot. Please consult the proper Election Official to inquire about this requirement. Candidates should pick up their nomination papers early in the Candidate Filing Period to allow enough time for signature gathering and certification.
  6. Be prepared to fill out a Statement of Economic Interest, Form 700, and disclose personal financial holdings. Download Form 700 on the Fair Political Practices Commission’s website.
  7. Don’t forget your checkbook when filing your candidate statement. Payment MUST be submitted with your statement, or the statement will not be accepted!
  8. After you file to run for office, check the Roster of Candidates on the San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division’s website to see if you are qualified. If the roster of candidates indicates that you are not qualified, call the Filing Officer to see what you still have to do to get qualified.
  9. Research state regulations regarding the political activity of candidates by contacting the Secretary of State at 916.653.6224 and the Fair Political Practices Commission at 866.275.3772.
  10. Visit the League of Women Voters website to learn about services offered to candidates. Find information about candidate statements, district information and other campaign information.