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Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Candidate & Campaign Finance InfoCandidate FAQs

Candidate Frequently Asked Questions

 
 

 Click on a category to the left to filter the list of FAQs below.

PLEASE NOTE: While we want to make sure you are as informed as possible, the Elections department staff cannot provide advice or help you fill out your paperwork. If you need help, you can consult your county political party office, or seek advice from an attorney or an accountant. 

Can I file my Campaign Finance Reports electronically or by mail?

Yavapai County accepts Campaign Finance Reports by email, mail or in-person. If you mail your report, we recommend allowing enough delivery time that it arrives before the filing deadline.

Electronic reports can be sent by email to web.elections@yavapai.us.

For more information about filing campaign finance reports, please refer to A.R.S. §§ 16-926 and 16-927.

Can I file my committee formation paperwork by mail?

Yes. Please make sure that all paperwork has original signatures.

Can I file my committee formation paperwork electronically?

Yes. Yavapai County accepts committee formation paperwork by email, mail, or in-person. When filing on printed paper, all forms must have original signatures. Forms filed electronically by email must have a valid digital signature.

The Elections Department does not provide technical support for digital signatures. For information about signing a PDF using Adobe Reader, please visit https://helpx.adobe.com/reader/using/sign-pdfs.html. For other software, please consult the user documentation.

Can I file my committee formation paperwork in Cottonwood?

No, Yavapai County Elections is located at 1015 Fair Street in Prescott and does not have an office in Cottonwood.

Do I have to file Campaign Finance Reports?

If you filed a Statement of Organization, you are required to file Campaign Finance Reports. The reporting dates are listed on the front page of the Campaign Finance Report Form. You need to file a separate report for each Statement of Organization you filed.

If you were not required to form a committee using a Statement of Organization, you must still keep track of all contributions and expenses. If the aggregate total of receipts and disbursements exceeds $1,000, you must file a Statement of Organization within 10 days. [A.R.S. § 16-906]

Do I have to open a bank account before turning in my Statement of Organization?

No. The Statement of Organization asks for the name of the bank you plan to use. You can submit an Amended Statement of Organization if you end up using a different bank.

Do I need to keep track of my campaign's income and expenses?

Yes. Even if you are not required to file a Statement of Organization, you are required to keep track of all income (contributions, interest, etc.) and expenditures (payments, fees, etc.) for your committee.

See Do I have to file Campaign Finance Reports? above.

How do I challenge a candidate?

To challenge a candidate, you must file a challenge petition in court no later than 5:00 p.m. on the 10th business day after the candidate Nomination Petition submission deadline. The challenge petition must specifically list the reasons for the challenge. If signatures on a candidate’s Nomination Petitions are being challenged, the challenge must specifically identify the Nomination Petition page and line number for each signature being challenged, and the reasons why the signatures are being challenged. For more information see A.R.S. §16-351 and A.R.S. §16-351.01.

Any candidate in any election can be challenged by any registered voter.

How do I complete the top portion of my petition?

The purpose of the petition is to tell people who you are and what you are running for. Read the petition language carefully, and fill in the information requested in the blanks provided. Make sure the top portion of the petition is filled out with the correct election date, name of the district and office you are running for.

While we want to make sure you are as informed as possible, we cannot tell you how to fill out your paperwork. If you need help, you can consult your county political party office, or seek advice from an attorney.

How do I run as a write-in candidate?

Write-in candidates are not required to gather signatures to qualify for the ballot. However, Write-in candidates are still required to form a committee (if applicable), file a nomination paper and a Financial Disclosure Statement (if applicable). Only candidates who file before the deadline will be considered “official write-in candidates.” Only official write-in candidates will have their names posted in the Vote Centers and have any votes cast for them counted. A list of write-in candidates is not sent with the early or vote by mail ballots and it is up to the candidates to advertise their candidacy.

Write-In Candidate Filing Deadlines

  • County office – 40 days prior to the election.
  •  Special District board or Precinct Committeemen – 76 days prior to the election.

How do I run as an "independent" candidate?

“Independent” describes any candidate that is not registered to vote with one of the major (recognized) political parties. For a list of parties that are recognized in Yavapai County, please see the County Candidate Signature Requirements sheet for County candidates.

Independent candidates do not run in the Primary Election, but will instead appear on the General Election ballot. However, the filing deadline for Nomination Papers and Petitions is the same as the candidates who are running in the Primary. The procedures for running as an independent candidate are the same as those for candidates registered with a political party, except that independent candidates file slightly different petitions and nomination paperwork. Download a County Candidate Packet and after filling out the form, choose the link for “Non-Recognized Party Candidates (All other parties).”

How many signatures do I need to get?

The number of nominating signatures you must get varies by position and party. Signature requirements are based on the voter registration totals reported on March 1st of the election year. Before March 1st, only “Unofficial” signature requirements are available.

How much can someone contribute to my campaign?

Current campaign contribution limits are available on the Arizona Secretary of State’s website. There are no limits to how much a candidate can contribute to their own campaign.

I want to campaign at polling places on Election Day - have signs up, tables, people handing out pamphlets, etc. What do I need to know?

75-Foot Limit – This is a boundary around the vote center that has the purpose of insulating voters from campaigning while they are trying to vote.

Not allowed inside 75-Foot Limit:

  • Electioneering (any verbal communication of support or opposition, whether for a candidate, a political party that has candidates on the ballot, or a question on the ballot)
  • Photographers & Media
  • Anyone loitering
  • Candidates and political action committees cannot have tables, people campaigning, etc., inside the 75-foot limit.

Allowed inside 75-Foot Limit:

  • Voters can take written materials (sample ballots, pamphlets, etc.) into the vote center with them.
  • Voters can have children or another person there to assist them – except, candidates that are on the ballot are not allowed to assist voters.
  • Normal business activities

Except in the case of an emergency, any facility that is used as a Vote Center on Election Day is required to allow electioneering and other political activity outside of the 75-foot limit, in public areas and parking lots used by voters. Consult our website for the listing of any facilities which do not allow electioneering.

Not allowed on vote center property:

  • Temporary or permanent structures (canopies, tents, etc.) in public areas and parking lots
  • Blocking or restricting access to walkways or parking spaces for voters. Keep traffic and walkways clear – Any areas used and traveled by voters (sidewalks, parking lots, etc.) should not be blocked in any way (even partially) with your signs, vehicles, tables, chairs, or supporters.
  • Sign placement and tampering – Do not place signs at the Vote Center without first checking with the property owner or manager. Some Vote Center facilities have designated specific areas they have approved for sign placement. Unauthorized signs on private property may be removed. State and many local laws also govern placement of signs on public and private property, as well as removal, alteration or defacing political signs. The Posting of Candidate Signs can give you some guidelines, but it is your responsibility to make sure you are following the most current laws in each area you are posting signs.

PLEASE BE AWARE: The County does not generally lease the entire facility for voting purposes, and most Vote Center locations have normal business activities occurring on Election Day. An increasing number of Vote Center property owners have expressed concern with Election Day mistreatment of their property, unauthorized borrowing of furniture or use of resources, interference with their customers or patrons, and concern with damage resulting from signs on the premises. Vote Center property owners are required to allow electioneering, but they are not required to be a Vote Center. We recommend that you seek permission from the property owner or manager of any Vote Center that you want to campaign at on Election Day.

I want to review my opponent's petitions. What do I do?

Nomination Petitions are available for public inspection and purchase from the Elections Department. To check the signatures on candidate petitions against the Voter Registration records, you must:

  1. Submit a Public Data Request Form with the Elections office.
  2. Purchase copies of the desired candidate’s petitions from our office at $0.25 per page.
  3. Schedule an appointment with the Voter Registration Department for use of their public computer.

If you want to look at another candidate’s petitions and do not want copies, you can do so under direct supervision of Elections Department staff, but you cannot use this option if you want to check the signatures against the Voter Registration records.

I’ve decided to run for office, what do I need to know?

  1. First, find out who your filing office is and where they are located. Not all candidates file at the County Elections office. It depends on which elected position you’re interested in. See also: Where do I get my candidate paperwork and where do I file? (below)
  2. Pull a candidate packet. The packet contains all the forms and information you need to run for office. See also: Where do I get my candidate paperwork and where do I file? (below)
  3. Register your committee (if applicable) by filing a Statement of Organization. You can form a committee at any time. For more information see A.R.S. §16-905.
    If you spend or collect, in aggregate, more than $1,000, you must file a Statement of Organization. You are then required to file quarterly and pre-election Campaign Finance Reports through the election, and once more when the committee terminates. See also: Campaign Contributions and Campaign Finance Report Dates.
  4. Circulate your petitions and gather signatures. See also: Petitions.
  5. File your paperwork with the appropriate filing office. See also: Where do I get my candidate paperwork and where do I file? (below) 

If I am an independent, can I be a Precinct Committeeman?

No. You must be registered to vote with one of the political parties recognized in the State to be a Precinct Committeeman for that party. For a list of the current recognized parties, please see signature requirements sheet in the Precinct Committeemen Candidate Packet.

If I don't win in the Primary Election, can I run as an independent or write-in in the General Election?

No. If you don’t “win” the Primary, or if you don’t get enough signatures to qualify for the Primary, you cannot run as a write-in or as an “Independent” candidate in the General Election.

For more information see A.R.S. §16-312 and A.R.S. §16-341

The Election is over. I'm done now, right?

If your committee filed a Statement of Organization, your candidate committee remains open and “active” until you close it with a Termination Statement. When you terminate your committee, you must file a final Campaign Finance Report.

What if I didn't have any financial activity this reporting period?

If you did not have any income or expenditures, including fees or interest, you must still file page 1 of the Campaign Finance Report.

What if I don't have a committee, it's just me?

Most candidates can be a “committee of one,” and act as their own Chairman and Treasurer. However, if you are a candidate for judicial office, we recommend that you refer to the Arizona Code of Judicial Conduct for additional guidelines.

What is the difference between a Financial Disclosure Statement and Campaign Finance Reports?

A Financial Disclosure Statement is a report of your personal finances, and is filed at the same time as your Nomination Paper and Petitions. Special District candidates do not have to file Financial Disclosure Statements. County Elected Officials also file an annual Financial Disclosure with the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors.

Campaign Finance Reports track all the money that a committee has collected and spent. Campaign Finance Reports are filed several times during the year, and cover specific periods of time. All committees who file a Statement of Organization, including Special District candidates, are responsible for filing Campaign Finance Reports. Campaign Finance Reports are required until you file a Termination Statement to close your committee.

NOTE: Precinct Committeemen do not form committees, file Financial Disclosure Statements or Campaign Finance Reports.

When can I begin accepting contributions?

You can begin accepting or spending any money on your campaign, distributing any campaign literature or circulating petitions  any time. However, once the aggregate of contributions and expenses exceeds $1,000, you must file a Statement of Organization. See also I’ve decided to run for office, what do I do next? (above)

More information – Chapter 6 CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS AND EXPENSES

When can I begin gathering signatures?

You can begin collecting nominating petition signatures at any time. See also I’ve decided to run for office, what do I do next?

When do I file my petitions?

Petitions are filed between 120 and 90 days before the election. Exact dates can be found on our website under Elections & Results. Click on the Election for a list of important dates, including when candidates file.

“Independent” candidates (not registered with one of the political parties recognized in Yavapai County) do not run in the Primary Election, but are still required to file their Nomination Paper and petitions at the same time as candidates who are running in the Primary.

PLEASE BE AWARE: The last week of the candidate filing period is busy for the filing office and for candidates. If you choose to file during that time period, please be prepared to wait in line.

Where can I get a map of my precinct or district?

You can view a map of your precinct or district online using the GIS Mapping Applications. Printed maps for precincts, Supervisor, Justice of the Peace, Legislative and Congressional Districts can be purchased from the County Elections Department.

Printed Map Rates:

Map Size (all color) First Print Reprint (same map)
8 ½ x 11” (letter) $5.00 $2.00
11 x 17” (tabloid) $10.00 $5.00
36 x 48” (wall) $20.00 $10.00

Wall maps can take up to 1 hour to print, so calling in ahead with your map order works best.

Where can I put campaign signs?

Rules on where you can post signs vary according to where the signs will be located. A quick reference guide to the local sign ordinances is included in the County Candidate Packet, but it is your responsibility to make sure you are following the most current laws in each area you are posting signs.

Where do I get my candidate paperwork and where do I file?

Filing Offices:

  • County office – receive and file paperwork with the County Elections Office in Prescott. County candidate packets are available beginning in June of the year preceding the election year. The County Candidate Packet is available online. Just fill out a simple form and download the packet. The packet can be saved on your computer, or you can sign in to the website anytime to get the forms you need.
  • Special District boards – receive and file paperwork with the County Elections Office in Prescott. Special District candidate packets are available around 150 days prior to the district’s election. The Special District Candidate Packet is available online. The packet can be saved on your computer, or you can go to the website anytime to get the forms you need.
  • Precinct Committeemen – receive and file paperwork with your County political party. Precinct Committeemen packets are available in mid-March of the election year. Precinct Committeemen packets are given to the County political party offices to distribute to interested candidates. The Precinct Committeemen Packet is available online. The packet can be saved on your computer, or you can go to the website any time to get the forms you need.
  • School Board – receive and file paperwork with the Yavapai County Education Service Agency (ESA) Office.
  • State or Federal Office – receive and file paperwork with the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office.
  • City or Town Council Seat – receive and file paperwork with that City or Town Clerk’s office. Click here for Government Related Links.

Who can sign my petitions?

Signatures must be obtained from qualified electors who are eligible to vote for the candidate whose nomination petition they are signing. If you are running for a County office, signers are registered in the district you are running for, registered with your same political party, or registered “independents.” If you are running for a Special District, anyone registered to vote in your district can sign your petitions.

PLEASE NOTE: If you are running for a Special District that crosses into another county, you can collect signatures from voters in the other county, but you will want separate petition pages for each County.

Who do I call to complain about a political sign?

The Elections office provides candidates with guidelines on sign posting, but is not an enforcement agency. You can call the Public Works Department for whichever government area (e.g. State, County, City or Town) that the sign is in for more information on filing a complaint. See also: Quick Reference Guide
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