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    Candidate Statement Requirements for Federal and State Offices

Candidate Statement Requirements for Federal and State Offices*

*If the elections official who is conducting the election permits electronic distribution of a candidate’s statement, the governing body of a local agency may permit each candidate to prepare a candidate’s statement for the purpose of electronic distribution pursuant to this subdivision.  Sonoma County does not offer this service at this time. (Elections Code 13307 (c)1)

Important Notice to Candidates in Districts that Encompass More than one County:

Procedures, requirements, fees, formats and public examination periods for candidate’ statements may vary between counties. It is the candidate’s responsibility to contact each county (in which he or she wishes to have a statement printed) within the district to obtain the appropriate information from each county. Failure to do so may jeopardize the printing of the candidate’s statement.

Candidate Information

The text of the statement shall not exceed 250 words.  Word count standards shall be pursuant to Elections Code §9. 

All statements must be submitted on, or attached to, the form provided by the county elections official of each county in which the candidate wishes to have his or her statement printed.  Statements must be formatted pursuant to the guidelines provided by each county.  Statements not submitted in the appropriate format will be reformatted by the county elections official.  The county elections official bears no responsibility for the correct typesetting of statements that must be reformatted. 

Statements shall not, in any way, make reference to other candidates for office or to another candidate’s qualifications, character or activities. 

The statement will be printed in languages required by the Voting Rights Act as well as those languages, if any, required by the counties within the jurisdiction.  If Spanish is not a required language, a candidate may request a Spanish translation of his or her statement at additional cost. 

Costs of providing statements to voters, including translated statements, shall be paid by the candidates.

Filing Information

Candidates’ statements shall be filed in the office of the elections official of each county within the district in which the candidate wishes a statement to be printed, not later than 5 p.m. on the 88th day prior to the election, or in the event that the nomination period has been extended, until 5 p.m. on the 83rd day prior to the election.  Candidates’ statements are confidential until the expiration of the period for filing such statements.  Statements may be withdrawn, but not changed, until 5 p.m. of the next working day after the 88th or 83rd day prior to the election, whichever is applicable.

It is strongly recommended that the statement be filed personally by the candidate. If the statement is filed by someone other than the candidate, that person should have the authority to make corrections or deletions to the statement in the event that errors or an excess number of words are detected prior to filing the statement. Statements received by mail prior to the deadline will be filed provided that they meet the statutory requirements and county policies regarding candidates’ statements. Statements may not be changed after filing

Counties may require candidates to deposit the estimated cost of printing the statement at the time of filing the statement or may invoice the candidate for the actual cost of printing the statement after the election.  If the actual cost of printing the statement exceeds the deposited amount, the candidate will be invoiced for the remainder of the cost.  If the actual cost of printing the statement is less than the deposited amount, the candidate will receive a refund of the over payment.

Candidates’ statements are available for public examination in the county elections official’s office 10 calendar days following the close of filing for each such office. During this period any voter of the jurisdiction in which the election is to be held, or the county elections official, may seek a writ of mandate or an injunction requiring any or all of the material in the statement to be amended or deleted.  Venue for such a proceeding shall be the county in which the statement is filed.  If the statement is filed in more than one county, the writ or injunction must be sought in each county in which amendments or deletions to the statement are sought.

Preparation of the Candidate's Statement

Shown below is a reduced facsimile of a Sonoma County Candidate's Statement of Qualifications form for State Legislative Candidates. Note that the first paragraph in the upper portion contains information as to the cost of printing and handling your statement. This portion of the form is to be completed by the official issuing the form. The second paragraph contains check boxes for you to indicate whether you wish to have your statement printed in English only, or in English and Spanish. You should complete this portion, and date and sign where indicated. The Statement shown below has been typed in upper and lower case, block paragraph form, and the candidate is not requesting a Spanish translation of his statement.

A Visual Example of Candidate Statement of Qualifications for State and Federal Offices as Described Above and Below

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Printed Candidate's Statement

Printed Candidate's Statement - The example below approximately illustrates the candidate's statement as it will be printed in the County Voter Information Guide.  All statements are printed in BLOCK PARAGRAPH STYLE with spacing between paragraphs (no indentations).

John Q. Candidate

81st District

I am running for the 81ST District because I feel I can bring a fresh outlook to the legislature. There are pressing issues facing our district, and I want to be a part of the solution. School districts and local governments need more funds to supply needed services. Citizens need to have confidence that their needs, including housing, safety, jobs and education will be met. I have lived and worked in this district since 1948. I own a small printing business which I started in my garage in 1982. Today that business is quite successful and I have 27 employees. I believe state government can and should be run like a business. There is a limited amount of money with which to fund government services, and we need to examine our expenditures very carefully. I am well qualified for this position. I attended local schools before joining the military in which I served for 6 years. At the completion of my military service I returned to Anytown and attended the State University, from which I graduated with honors in 1986. I served on the Uptown Unified School District governing board from 1988 through 1996 and currently am serving on the Anytown City Council. My wife, Jane and I have three children, Joshua, 18, Justin, 16 and Jessica, 13, all of whom attend local public schools. I want this district to continue to be a wonderful place to live, work and play for generations to come. Thank you for your vote.

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Word Count Standards

  1. Punctuation is not counted.
  2. Each word shall be counted as one word except as specified.
  3. All proper nouns, including geographical names shall be counted as one word (e.g., "City and County of San Francisco" or "Rincon Valley Union School District" shall be counted as one word).
  4. Each abbreviation for a word, phrase, or expression shall be counted as one word (e.g., S.R.J.C.).
  5. Hyphenated words that appear in any generally available standard reference dictionary published in the United States shall be counted as one word. Each part of all other hyphenated words shall be counted as a separate word.
  6. Dates shall be counted as one word.
  7. Digital numbers shall be counted as one word (e.g., 100). Numbers which are written out are counted as one word each (e.g., "one" shall be counted as one word and "one hundred" shall be counted as two words).
  8. Telephone numbers shall be counted as one word.
  9. Internet web site addresses shall be counted as one word.

Statements must be typewritten in upper and lower case, with paragraphs clearly marked.  Statements must be submitted on the appropriate form; however, statements may be prepared on a word processor and attached to the form, providing no pertinent information is covered by the attachment.  Statements submitted in a format other than block paragraph will be reformatted as illustrated above.  If age and/or occupation are left blank, none will be printed.  Occupation is not restricted by ballot designation limitations; however, occupations exceeding one line will be shortened.  Statement Must be Written in the First Person (e.g., "I am running…" not "Jane Doe is running…" or "He is running…").

Please Proofread Your Statement. This office will not be responsible for the accurate printing of any re-formatted statement or handwritten statement, nor will it correct any misspellings or errors in, grammar or punctuation.  Special formatting using ALL CAPITALS, italics, underlines, boldface type, ***stars***,!!!, dots…, etc., are prohibited.

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