How to Run for Public Office

The following is general guidance for residents who are considering running for the Office of the: City Council, Rent Control Board, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District or Santa Monica College District in the City of Santa Monica’s General Municipal Election. Elections are held on the first Tuesday, after the first Monday, in November of even numbered years.

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Candidates may be nominated for any of the elective offices of the City only during the Nomination Period (between the 

113th day and the 88th day) before a municipal election. Eligible candidates must be: 1) a United States citizen; 2) 18 years old on or before Election Day; and 3) a registered voter living in the jurisdiction at the time Nomination Papers are issued. Terms of office are generally for four years unless otherwise noted.
  1. Before Nomination Period

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    As a potential candidate, you may establish a Campaign Committee if you plan to raise $2,000+ or spend $1,000+ during your campaign. To establish a Committee, you will need to: 1) file a Statement of Organization (Form 410) with the Secretary of State, and 2) setup an electronic filing account by contacting the City Clerk's Office. If you are a City Council or Rent Control Board candidate, please read the limitations on contributions from persons that applies to your campaign.

  2. During Nomination Period

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    Interested candidates must pickup one Nomination Packet from the City Clerk's Office by attending a Candidate Workshop on the first day of nominations or making an appointment within the Nomination Period. The packet consists of two Nomination Petitions to circulate and forms to complete and file before the end of the period. Additional packets and petitions may be purchased. The nomination of candidates requires no less than 100 valid signatures from registered voters in the jurisdiction of the office they are running in to qualify for the ballot. A filing fee must be paid at the time petitions and forms are filed. If a candidate submits a Candidate Statement to be included in the Sample Ballot, then a statement fee must also be paid at the time of filing. A 2.95% surcharge will be applied to all debit/credit card transactions.

  3. After Nomination Period

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    If you won the election and established a Campaign Committee, you must continue filing semi-annual statements until you terminate the Committee. If you are a winning Council or Rent Board candidate, please read the Taxpayer Protection law and Levine Act that applies to your position. All elected officials are also required to file annual Statements of Economic Interest or Conflict of Interest Statements (Form 700) and complete mandatory trainings such as Ethics AB1234.

    If you lose the election and established a Committee, it is recommended that you terminate your Committee. The City also recommends participating in local government in other ways by serving on a board or commission or participating in public meetings.

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