Filing for Office
During the announced filing period, the candidate pays a filing fee and (if they meet the qualifications for office) signs their Notice of Candidacy to get their name on the ballot for the upcoming election.
Once a voter decides to run for an office (either the next election or a future election) and makes that decision known publicly, they have 10 days to organize a campaign committee by submitting paperwork to the Board of Elections. All municipal and county offices file their reports at the County Board of Elections. All offices at the state, judicial or federal levels file their reports with State Board of Elections in Raleigh.
Organizing a Campaign Committee
The following completed forms must be submitted to the Board of Elections office:
- Statement of Organization - Candidate Committee CRO 2100A
- Certification of Financial Account Information CRO 3500
- Certification of Threshold CRO 3600 (submit if staying under the threshold)
- Candidate Designation of Committee Funds CRO 3900
More forms may be needed, but these forms must be completed to open a committee. They may be found on the State Board of Elections website.
Information Needed to Organize a Committee
A committee name is used for campaign financial reports and for advertising purposes. Most all advertisements should include “Paid for by…..” on print and media. This includes business cards, flyers, large campaign signs, radio and TV ads. Traditional sized yard signs do not require the “paid for” statement. (Examples: “John Smith for Mayor,” “Elect Jane Doe for School Board,” etc.)
Contact information includes mailing address, phone, and email
Contact information includes mailing address, phone, and email.
A candidate may be their own treasurer. If not, a treasurer may be anyone but candidate’s spouse. The treasurer is required to complete the Campaign Finance Training within 90 days. The certification is good for 2 years. (https://www.ncsbe.gov/campaign-finance/treasurer-training)
If contributions and spending are anticipated to stay under $1,000, choose to organize “under the threshold” (at any time during the campaign, this may be amended if the threshold is surpassed). If filing over the threshold, financial reports must be submitted.
If a campaign will receive contributions from anyone other than the candidate, a bank account is required. This may be an additional personal checking account—it does not have to be in the committee’s name. This separate account must contain only campaign income and expenditures.
NCGS § 163-278.16B details a complete list of "use of contributions."
§ 163-278.16B(a). Use of contributions for certain purposes.
(a) A candidate or candidate campaign committee may use contributions only for the following purposes:
- Expenditures resulting from the campaign for public office by the candidate or candidate's campaign committee.
- Expenditures resulting from holding public office.
- Donations to an organization described in section 170(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (26 U.S.C. § 170(c)), provided that the candidate or the candidate's spouse, children, parents, brothers, or sisters are not employed by the organization.
- Contributions to a national, State, or district or county committee of a political party or a caucus of the political party or an affiliated party committee.
- Contributions to another candidate or candidate's campaign committee.
- To return all or a portion of a contribution to the contributor.
- Payment of any penalties against the candidate or candidate's campaign committee for violation of this Article imposed by a board of elections or a court of competent jurisdiction.
- Payment to the Escheat Fund established by Chapter 116B of the General Statutes.
- Legal expense donation not in excess of four thousand dollars ($4,000) per calendar year to a legal expense fund established pursuant to Article 26 of this Chapter.
In the event of death or incapacity of a candidate, the law requires that contributions to the campaign (after payments of debts) go to a designated organization(s). If the candidate is also the treasurer of the committee, a personal representative should be designated at this time (spouse is allowed).
§ 163-278.16B(c). Use of contributions for certain purposes.
(c) Contributions made to a candidate or candidate campaign committee do not become a part of the personal estate of the individual candidate. The candidate may file with the board a written designation of those funds that directs to which of the permitted uses in subsection (a) of this section those funds shall be paid in the event of the death or incapacity of the candidate. If the candidate fails to file the written designation before death, the personal representative of the estate may file the written designation within 90 days of the date of death, and may only direct those funds to donations under subdivision (a)(3) of this section. After the payment of permitted outstanding debts of the account, the candidate's filed written designation shall control. If the candidate files no such written designation, the funds after payment of permitted outstanding debts shall be distributed in accordance with subdivision (a)(8) of this section.