Candidates & Campaigns


Candidates and Campaigns

Election Calendar

Every aspect of running for office or running a campaign has code-defined time frames. The Election Calendar is a guide that is created especially for every election. It includes all the deadlines that candidates, campaigns, reporters and the voting public need to know.

November 3, 2020 Presidential General Election Calendar


November 3, 2020 Presidential General Election Candidate Guide


How to Get Voter File Information
FPPC Seminars & Workshops
Basic Campaign Filing Guidelines​
FPPC (Fair Political Practices Commission)

Important Things to Read About Campaign Fundraising

(Excerpt from the FPPC Website)

1. Be Informed

Study FPPC Manual “2” and the Addendum. Ask your election official about any local campaign restrictions. Attend a campaign workshop in your area. Contact your filing officer or the FPPC if you have any questions.

2. Before Raising or Spending Any Money

File Form 501 (Candidate Intention). Then open a campaign bank account. Once $2,000 is raised or spent, get an identification number by filing Form 410.

3. Mark Your Calendar

Know the due dates for campaign statements and file on time.

4. Keep Good Records

Maintain details on contributions and expenditures of $25 or more. Refer to recordkeeping guidelines in Manual A.

5. $100 or More in Cash?

Never accept or spend $100 or more in cash.

6. Using Personal Funds for Campaign Expenses

All personal funds of the candidate must first be deposited in the campaign bank account, except for filing fee/ballot statement fee.

7. Report Late Contributions

If $1,000 or more is received from one contributor during the last 16 days before the election, disclose receipt within 24 hours, even if the contribution is from your personal funds.

8. Itemize Contributors

For contributions of $100 or more, including loans and in-kind contributions, you must disclose the contributor’s name, address, occupation and employer.

9. Agent or Consultant Buys Goods or Services for the Campaign

Itemize expenditures of $500 or more made by the agent or consultant.

10. Identify Candidate/Committee on Mailings

Include your name and campaign address in at least 6-point type on the outside of all mass mailings (more than 200 pieces). Your committee’s name may be used if it includes your name. If your name is not part of the committee’s name, you may use just your name, or both your name and the name of the committee.

11. No Personal Use of Campaign Funds

Use campaign funds only for political, legislative, or governmental purposes.

Proposition 34 

Proposition 34, passed in 2000, contains many regulations on campaign contributions and expenditures that apply to candidates and committees for local office.

The full text of Proposition 34 and many useful support documents are available on the FPPC’s website, at

Voter Registration Drives

If you have any questions about voter registration or wish to launch a voter registration drive during the upcoming election season, please call 650.312.5222. Forms for distribution (at no cost) are available at the Registration & Elections Division.

Voter Registration Affidavit Distribution Form
A Guide to Voter Registration Drives


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!

Candidate Filing Options for November Presidential General Election


In light of COVID-19 and the stay at home order issued by the Governor, candidates now have two options for filing their candidate documents to run for office. The Secretary of State’s office has issued guidelines allowing counties to issue and receive candidate filing documents electronically. Although our office continues to offer in-person filings, we strongly encourage candidates to take advantage of the new electronic filing option to maintain the health and safety of both candidates and elections staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. City candidates should check with their City Clerk’s office for electronic filing options.

Option 1: Electronic Candidate Filing

Receiving Candidate Filing Documents Electronically

  1. Candidates need to provide our office a written request to receive candidate filing documents electronically by using the County’s Candidate Registration Form. The Candidate Registration Form can be downloaded on the County’s website or be requested by phone or email.
  2. Upon receiving the written request from the candidate and establishing the eligibility of the candidate, the Registration & Elections Division will email all candidate filing forms to the candidate in fillable PDF format.

Completing Candidate Filing Documents


Instructions for Filing Arguments and Rebuttals

Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 Notice: The Elections Division office at 40 Tower Road is temporarily closed to the public. All services provided by the Registration & Elections Division remain available. Instead of in-person filing of primary and rebuttal arguments, filers will be required to email a soft copy (Microsoft Word) version and a scanned version (PDF) of their signed argument documents by the required deadline. The original argument documents must be mailed to 40 Tower Road, San Mateo, CA 94402.


Campaign Finance Information

The Political Reform Act requires candidates to file campaign statements disclosing contributions received and expenditures made. The statutory requirements of the Political Reform Act are contained in Sections 81000-91015 of the California Government Code and are enforced by the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC). Therefore, questions and requests for clarification should be directed to the FPPC.

For more information, contact the Technical Assistance Division of the Fair Political Practices Commission at:


Information on Requesting a Local Recount

Who Can Request a Recount

Any registered voter of the State of California may file a written request for recount of any office or measure on the ballot in San Mateo County. (E.C. § 15620.)

If more than one voter requests a recount of the same office or measure, and at least one request is for a manual recount, the county elections official shall conduct only one manual recount of the ballots subject to recount. (E.C. § 15621.5.)


City Clerks within San Mateo County

Each city may have its own ordinances regarding posting political signs and conducting campaign activities. The San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division strongly recommends that you consult with the City/Town Clerk to determine rules and regulations that you must follow.