How to Run for Office

Congratulations on making the decision to run for office! We hope that this information will serve as a guide for eligible candidates who may be interested in running for office in San Rafael.  The next General Municipal Election will be held on Tuesday, November 3, 2020 for the offices of:

  • Mayor (at-large)
  • Councilmember - District 1
  • Councilmember - District 4
  • Part-time City Attorney (at-large)
  • City Clerk (at-large)
  • Board of Education Trustee - Area 1
  • Board of Education Trustee - Area 3
  • Board of Education Trustee - Area 5

1. Eligibility

In order to be eligible to run for office in the City of San Rafael you must:

  • Be a registered voter in the City of San Rafael at the time Nomination Papers are issued
  • For District seats: you must be a registered voter in the district

You can confirm that you are a registered voter in the City of San Rafael through the Marin County Elections Office. If you are unsure whether you live in the City of San Rafael or Unincorporated Marin you can use our Zoning Map to search your address. Make sure you follow the 'search tips' on the right side of the screen to guide you.

In order to be eligible to run for the office San Rafael City Schools District Board of Education Trustee you must:

  • Is 18 years of age or older
  • a citizen of the state
  • a resident of the school district area up for election
  • a registered voter
  • not legally disqualified from holding civil office.

2. Nomination Period (2020 Election)

Nomination papers for eligible candidates interested in filing for office may be obtained from the City Clerk's Office between the hours of 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. weekdays, beginning Monday, July 13, 2020 through no later than Friday, August 7, 2020, unless an incumbent fails to file, in which case there will be a five day extension period to no later than 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, August 12, 2020.

3. Your name on the ballot

How do you want your name to appear on the ballot? You will be able to indicate your name preference on the Declaration of Candidacy form. You can keep your voter registration name, or you may use designate you name as follows:

  • You can use your nickname in quotation marks, along with your legal name on your form. If you do not write you nickname on the Declaration of Candidacy form, you cannot use it afterwards on other candidate papers.
  • First, middle, and last name.
  • Initials only and last name
  • A familiar or common short version of the first name such as "Bill" for William or "Becky" for Rebecca, etc.

Please note: you cannot have titles or degrees with your name on the ballot.

Ballot Designation:

On the ballot under your name is the Ballot Designation. It is optional, but if you choose a designation then you must indicate this on the Declaration of Candidacy form. You must also complete a Ballot Designation Worksheet, but if you do not choose a designation then the worksheet is not required. If you do not want a designation, write "NONE" on your Declaration of Candidacy form where it asks for your designation. Also put your initials after the word "NONE".

Additional Candidate Resources

You are encouraged to schedule appointments to obtain and file nomination papers. To schedule an appointment, please call (415) 485-3066 or email the City Clerk.

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